Seen who? Although dental care may not be the first thing on your mind when you find out about your new bundle of joy, taking care of your oral health is an easy way to give your baby a healthy start. And, you can start by making a dental appointment to get your teeth checked before you deliver. Other ways to keep your mouth healthy are to brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and choose healthy foods and drinks that are low in sugar. If you are having trouble finding a dentist or buying a toothbrush and toothpaste, talk to your doctor about getting help. But wait, why are you doing all of this?
Pregnant women are more prone to cavities and gum disease because of changes in your body and your lifestyle. Maybe sometimes, you are too exhausted to brush your teeth before bed or you had some extra snacks to quiet a queasy stomach. Although these things are totally normal during pregnancy, it is important to stay connected with your doctor and dentist about your oral health—for your own health and your baby’s health. If you have mouth pain, it is important to discuss with a health care professional. Also, you can pass along to your baby the “bad bacteria” that contribute to tooth decay. That’s why it is important to keep your mouth healthy and not to share utensils or clean pacifiers with your mouth.
Once your baby is here, remember to wipe their gums with a soft cloth after feedings, avoid putting him or her down to bed with a bottle, and to see a dental provider by age one. Doing all of these things while pregnant and continuing good habits after your baby is born will give them the best chance for a lifetime of good oral health. For more information about oral health during pregnancy and infancy, visit healthychildren.org/tinyteeth.