Pregnancy and Oral Health
Whether you're already expecting a baby or preparing for pregnancy, there are many important points to consider during pregnancy that can affect the health of your child. While your obstetrician will have many do's and don't's, many times oral health takes a back seat during this time. Here's a few tips to consider that will help you and your child have healthy teeth!
Will my baby have my teeth?
Well, funny you should ask. We know that when babies have cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths, 25-100% of the time those bacteria came from mom (depending on which study you read)! That's right, cavities are caused by a specific strain of bacteria that can be transmitted just like the germs that cause colds and the flu. What can you do to ensure that your baby will be as healthy as possible? Rid your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria by having any cavities filled, brush twice per day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily. If you are at high-risk for cavities, your dentist may also recommend a special mouthwash or other products that can reduce your cavity risk. This way, you're less likely to transmit those cavity-causing bacteria to your baby.
Morning sickness and teeth
I'm a father of two, and while I haven't personally dealt with morning sickness (or all-day sickness!) I have seen its effects and how miserable it can be. Nausea and vomiting can take its toll on your willingness or ability to brush twice per day, and the frequent exposure to acid from your stomach can cause significant erosion of enamel. Excessive gagging with toothbrushing can also be a concern. If you're experiencing frequent nausea and vomiting, rinsing with a cup of water containing a teaspoon of baking soda and then waiting at least an hour before brushing again can reduce the acid erosion on your teeth. For those with difficulty brushing, chewing gum containing a sweetener called xylitol 3-4 times per day has been shown to reduce the number of cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths.
It's easy to forget to take care of yourself when you're spending sleepless nights worrying about baby, but remember that a healthy mom is best able to care for baby, and less likely to pass along harmful bacteria. Dental care during pregnancy is not only safe for mom and her unborn child, but it also helps