Congratulations on this exciting new chapter of your family's life! We are so happy for you. As you prepare for your precious addition, you are likely taking active steps to ensure that you and your baby are well taken care of - both during pregnancy and postpartum. While the healthcare advice can seem endless during pregnancy, it is important not to neglect your oral health. Here are some useful dental tips and reminders to help your growing family.
1. KEEP APPOINTMENT REMINDERS SIMPLE. When you schedule your next prenatal checkup, go ahead and also make an appointment for a dental exam, especially if it has been more than 6 months since a cleaning, or if any dental conditions have developed. Oral health is essential for expectant mothers (and children, too!) to prevent bacteria build-up, tooth decay, and oral diseases. Routine dental visits are a great opportunity for parents to learn at-home tips on caring for your family's teeth.
2. WHAT YOU EAT IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT DURING PREGNANCY.
What to Limit: Sugars, cookies, crackers, chips, sodas, juice, and sports drinks. If you choose to consume these, it is best to eat them during mealtime than as stacks between meals. Frequent consumption of these types of foods has been shown to increase your risk for caries (tooth decay).
What to Increase: Eating small protein-rich snacks throughout the day can help with nausea. Fresh produce is packed with wholesome nutrients. Be sure to keep foods with calcium and vitamins in your diet, and take prenatal vitamins containing folic acid. Most practitioners also give an okay on chewing xylitol-containing gum after meals.
3. PREGNANCY HORMONES CAUSE CHANGES IN YOUR MOUTH, TOO. Hormonal changes can put you at more risk for periodontal disease. Discuss it with your dentist. You may experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis (tender gums that bleed easily). It is a good idea to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be more gentle while flossing. It is still important to brush twice daily and floss daily.
4. GENTLE CARE FOR YOUR TEETH IF YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS. Feeling sick is certainly no fun! It is recommended to wash with an alcohol-free mouth rinse, as to prevent acid decay and cavities in your teeth. If the flavor of your toothpaste happens to make you feel nauseous and is giving you an aversion to brushing your teeth, now is a great time to explore some new toothpaste flavors!
5. CONTROL TRANSFER OF HARMFUL BACTERIA.
Once your darling baby arrives, you can prevent unknowingly transferring oral bacteria to your child. Avoid saliva-sharing with your baby. Do not "clean" a pacifier, toy, or bottle with your own mouth. Do not share spoons, cups, and toothbrushes. Controlling saliva transfer from mother to child can potentially limit caries disease.
6. BE SURE TO VISIT THE DENTIST AFTER YOUR PREGNANCY, TOO!
Keeping a habit of good oral health can help boost the likelihood of positive oral habits for your children as well.
Wondering what type of dental care to provide for your new baby? Read our other articles on infant oral care, to start your baby on the path to health!
The Sunshine Children's Dentistry LOVES our patients! Your family is a blessing to everyone at our office. If you ever need to reach us, our number is 910.762.7736.