Calcium and Tooth Concerns while Breastfeeding

During pregnancy and lactation, the percentage of calcium in the body of a mother drops down. It is estimated that between 2 and 3 % of the total calcium in the body–that is approximately 25-35 g–is transferred to the fetus. This leads to a major calcium shortage, which becomes even more severe during the months of lactation.

Even if the endocrine system adapts to the new physiological situation (increased renal calcium conservation, as well as increased intestinal absorption of calcium) long-term issues may occur, of which the most common is osteoporosis or predisposition to osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Thus, mothers are exposed to an increased risk of dental problems during and directly following pregnancy & lactation. Treatments that were not possible or recommended during nursing–such as strong anesthesia, removing mercury-based fillings, as well as some types of X-rays–can be resumed after weaning baby from breastfeeding.

Here’s a list with the most common problems mothers encounter:

  • bone mass loss (density and endurance);
  • acute swellings in periodontal tissues;
  • gums detachment, which, combined with a carious diet, may lead to loss of dental fillings;
  • calcium found in the dental bone tissue is not metabolized (pregnancy does not lead to tooth loss), but the calcium intake may be affected.

However, there are solutions to prevent and/or reduce these symptoms:

  • Eat adequate food, rich in calcium (milk and diary products, fruits, celery, spinach, tofu, beans etc);
  • Take Calcium supplements (as directed by your doctor; less during pregnancy, more during lactation, as this is the subject to a daily calcium loss of approximately 300 mg) with vitamin D3. The more reduced the exposure to sun light, the more D3 intake;
  • Completely avoid alcohol and nicotine and significantly reduce coffee and cocoa intake;
  • Avoid crunchy foods and follow an impeccable oral hygiene to keep gum problems to the minimum.

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