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I don't understand the maternal to fetus dental health connection...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have read that the mother can essentially pass dental disease on to her fetus inutero. Can someone please explain that process to me? Thanks!
post #2 of 18
I don't know how that one specifically works, but I do know there is a lot of research right now into the spectrum of other bad health effects having bad teeth can have on you.

The reason for this is when you have a mouth full of bacteria, it gets into your blood stream very easily and affects other organ systems. It is thought that having periodontal disease contributes to cardiovascular disease because of the excess nasty mouth bacteria in the bloodstream, damages the lining of the blood vessels.
post #3 of 18
As I understand it, its like having an untreated infection raging 24/7. You may not be technically sick but your immune system is constantly working trying to fight it off.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Do is the idea that the bacteria carries over to your child through the placenta? I'm specifically talking about the connection between the fetus and the mother's dental health.
post #5 of 18
I thought the placenta blocked most bacteria because the cells were too large? Periodontal disease can cause pre-term birth and low birth weight but I think that has more to do with the mom's immune system than bacteria getting through...
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
I thought I read that dental disease could carry from the mother to the child. That's my question. Is that true? What is the research? How does that happen?
post #7 of 18
I know it can happen after birth if the mother kisses the baby (puts the pacifier in her mouth, ect)...
post #8 of 18
Quote:
I know it can happen after birth if the mother kisses the baby (puts the pacifier in her mouth, ect)...
That is the theory being promoted in the dental offices. Basically they say you are spreading the bacteria that causes decay from your mouth into your child's mouth.

I am not sure I buy it though. Wouldn't that same theory also apply between husband and wife? Cause I know I am doing a lot more germ swapping with my husband than my kids and dh's teeth are completely rotted out and mine are perfectly fine, except one wisdom tooth I had to have removed a few years ago.
post #9 of 18
Here's what I remember my dentist telling me (take with a grain of salt)...babies don't have the germs that cause cavities UNTIL well meaning adults feed them off their spoon and share saliva. So until there is some saliva sharing, it is not possible for babies to get cavities.

I'm guessing it doesn't apply to adults because we all have the cavity causing germs anyway.
post #10 of 18
I think the babies would eventually get them since we all breathe out teeny tiny droplets of spit (really gross to think you're breathing strangers spit whenever you leave your house!) but it wouldn't be as severe as putting them directly from your mouth to theirs.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZgirl2207 View Post
Here's what I remember my dentist telling me (take with a grain of salt)...babies don't have the germs that cause cavities UNTIL well meaning adults feed them off their spoon and share saliva. So until there is some saliva sharing, it is not possible for babies to get cavities.

I'm guessing it doesn't apply to adults because we all have the cavity causing germs anyway.
I would take that with a definite grain of salt. My DD didn't eat until she was 2 1/2 - 3, so by then she could eat from her own spoon and wanted no help from me. She has a cavity forming and front tooth decay and she was breastfed entirely for at least 2 1/2 years. No pacifier or bottles

Unless they could get it from me blowing on her food to cool it down, but I haven't done that until recently.

Basically our dentist said some kids/people just have more/grow more bacteria in their mouth than other people, no matter how much they brush.
post #12 of 18
I am pretty sure that there are also GOOD bacteria in our mouth that can compete with the bad ones. The bacterial population in peoples mouth can be different. So is mom had a pretty good population that is pretty likely to eventually get passed to baby through close contact etc. Same if mom is unlucky and has a less good population.

I think I read studies related to the above information (may not yet be confirmed or heavily researched but at least a hypothesis being tested). I don't have anything more concrete to tell you though!
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okie Dokie...then. I'm just not going to worry about it. I totally heard the whole "mom can give baby this and that by sharing a spoon thing" but just thought that was the stupidest thing ever. I mean, we're a family - we're going to share germs. That's life.

So no one other than me has heard this story of how you can pass dental disease on to your fetus before birth? Maybe I misunderstood what I read and it was more about what PP mentioned with regard to immune function and pre-term birth.
post #14 of 18
As far as Ive heard, certain dental diseases can cause issues (other than just immune system issues) such as preterm delivery.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post
As far as Ive heard, certain dental diseases can cause issues (other than just immune system issues) such as preterm delivery.
This is what my dentist told me--can't remember exactly, but something about the inflamation caused by gum disease triggering a process that could also cause preterm labor.
post #16 of 18
I'm going to guess what you're thinking of is what MaerynPearl is referring to. Dental infections are associated with preterm birth. The mouth is highly vascular and it's therefore easy for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing an infection in the placenta.

Here's an abstract regarding the association:
http://jada.ada.org/cgi/content/full/132/7/875

While habits of the mother in utero CAN have long-term effects on a child's oral health, I believe the only issue with dental health of the mother herself is this increased risk of prematurity due to infections passed on to the placenta.
post #17 of 18
There was a recent case study where the fetus of a mother w/ gingivitis died in utero during the 3rd trimester (ie. delivered stillbirth at term). The baby died from a bacterial infection, caused by the same strain of oral bacteria found in the mother. Obviously this type of bacteria is not supposed to be in amniotic fluid.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0121171411.htm
post #18 of 18
i haven't heard of in utero transfer of gingivitis.. i've heard of mom's oral health affecting preterm labour, low birth weight, etc.. and i've heard of sharing germs with the baby via soother, spoon, kisses, etc. but i've never heard of actually transferring dental disease in utero.
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