There is a crib to build, and there are baby showers to attend, but preparing for the health of your baby is of the greatest importance. To ensure strong, sound teeth for your little one, scheduling a prenatal dental care checkup for yourself should top your to-do list.
Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby
A mother-to-be's oral health largely determines her child's dental future. Especially in view of changing hormone levels during pregnancy, it is time to take a closer look at your current dental health. The American Dental Association recommends continuing your regular oral health care routine unbroken throughout your pregnancy, including dental checkups and cleanings. Upon learning of your pregnancy, plan your first dental health checkup. Schedule a second prenatal dental health check in six months.
Pregnant women should also:
- Brush teeth upon waking and again at bedtime using fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between the teeth with floss or mouthwash at least once a day.
- Practice healthy eating habits by limiting sugary, processed foods and by choosing fresh produce instead.
- Reduce the number of snacks between meals.
When you are pregnant, address medical concerns immediately, including toothaches. What seems to be just a minor annoyance could turn into an oral infection that can spread throughout your body and to your baby. Do not wait for your next checkup to address oral concerns. Call your dentist right away. The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center reminds women that it is not uncommon for gums to swell during pregnancy. This can lead to gingivitis and, if not treated, periodontal disease or tooth loss. X-rays, the use of local anesthesia and some pain medications are safe during pregnancy, according to the center, so there is no excuse to avoid prenatal dental care.
Good Health Practices
Prevent oral concerns by being proactive during your pregnancy. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months (or sooner if the bristles are frayed), do not share the toothbrush with anyone and use an alcohol-free mouthwash. If you are battling morning sickness, take a few minutes to swish your mouth with a baking soda-water mixture after vomiting. Just 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water will prevent stomach acids from damaging the enamel on your teeth.
You want the best for your baby, so don't skimp on your oral health. Maintaining a relationship with your dentist is just as important as scheduling OB-GYN appointments.