February was National Children’s Dental Health Month. You’ve probably read tons of articles and information focusing on kids’ dental health and care. But did you know that good dental health starts in the womb?
A mother’s dental health is a pretty accurate predictor of the newborn’s oral health. A study published in the Journal of The American Dental Association linked both these factors. Dentists recommend that pregnant women pay close attention to their oral health and get regular checkups in order to minimize any oral health risks.
Signs of Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy
The easiest step is to ask your prenatal care provider for a basic oral health assessment. They will usually take an oral health history and do an initial examination. You should tell your doctor if you have noticed any of these issues:
- Sore or bleeding gums
- Problems or pain while chewing
- If and frequency of vomiting
- Signs of infection
Oral health issues will not cause any problems during pregnancy as long as they are detected early and treated properly. Be sure to stick to the instructions your doctor or dentist gives you. Do not worry if X-rays (particularly digital X-rays), local anesthesia and pain medications such as Tylenol are needed, this report by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists deems them safe during pregnancy.
Great Tips to Help You and Your Baby’s Oral Health
Pregnancy is one of the craziest times in a woman’s life. A woman’s body goes through a ton of physiological and mental changes and leaves you overwhelmed. It is quite easy to forget about good oral health during this time when there are so many other things to worry about. And what’s worse, pregnancy actually makes your gums softer and more prone to inflammation (gingivitis).
Here are some tips that can help you maintain good oral health for you and your baby:
- Use toothpastes containing fluoride and brush twice daily and replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months (sooner if the bristles start to show signs of wear).
- Use mouthwash every night. Make sure you use one which is alcohol-free and contains fluoride.
- If you get an attack of morning sickness, use a baking soda rinse (1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water) afterwards to protect your teeth against acids. And don’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes as your tooth enamel is still at risk after the vomiting.
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar, eat fresh fruits and whole-grains, and drink lots of water.
Practice these few easy habits and you will not only help yourself but also give your baby a much better chance of having a healthy set of teeth and gums. If you have any questions regarding dental care feel free to get in touch with Smile Institute by visiting our office in Eugene, OR.