Congratulations on your new bundle… or on your plans for one this year! There is so much to consider during pregnancy, especially if you are a first-time mom. As a seasoned mother, you are likely still learning (as no two kids are ever the same), and wanting to improve your knowledge too. It’s important to take care of yourself and also to know what to do to keep your baby healthy. When it comes to pregnancy dental care, there are things you should know during your pregnancy as well as for your baby’s first years of life.
Pregnancy Dental Care
Some women believe that a visit to the dentist during pregnancy is a bad idea. It’s not. In fact, you should keep your regularly scheduled appointments. We know you may experience nausea and vomiting and the idea alone of having dental tools in your mouth is enough to make you gag, but morning sickness to this point can damage your teeth, gums, and tongue. Being seen by a dentist during your first or second trimester is highly encouraged to keep your own dental health on track, not to mention that it is likely to be more uncomfortable for you in the third trimester to sit for your exam.
Don’t be worried about x-rays or cosmetic treatments or procedures during your pregnancy, those can wait, and if for some reason they cannot – the 2nd trimester is the right time to do them. However, dental cleanings and check-ups should not be put off because of pregnancy. It is an old wives’ tale that pregnancy can cause loose teeth. It is common however, due to changes in hormones, for you to experience red, swollen and bleeding gums. Regular dental cleanings will help reduce or prevent this. Fortunately, when it does happen it tends to be temporary.
Infant/Toddler Dental Health
Once your baby is born, it’s important to start taking care of their little mouth right away. It may sound silly, but start cleaning your baby’s gums with a warm, wet washcloth soon after birth. Infants will begin teething sometime between four and eight month of age. Cold, wet washcloths or teething rings can be used to help with red, swollen gums due to teething. Once that first tooth erupts you can start using an infant tooth brush with water or a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Often parents don’t think cavities on primary teeth matter, since their kids ultimately loose those baby teeth, but starting young with good oral care will help solidify healthy habits as children get older. Schedule their first dental exam between the time of them getting their first tooth and their first birthday.
Pediatric Dental Health
By the time your child is about two and a half, all their baby teeth should have erupted, and flossing can be added to the oral hygiene routine. Around age three, you can begin using a bit more toothpaste. Prior to this time, your child may swallow the toothpaste rather than spit it out as recommended. Help them practice good tooth brushing techniques, focusing on reaching all teeth and brushing for a full two minutes. The key with kids is making it fun – check out these apps that make brushing more fun.
Talk to your dentist about any concerns you have with brushing, oral care in general, and any pacifier or finger/thumb sucking. Questions or concerns about you or your child’s oral health are always welcomed by your dentist. Never worry or feel embarrassed about learning more. First-time parent or not, new things will always come up and your dentist is just one more advocate to help you and your family have optimal health.
Pregnant or not, if you have concerns about your dental health or your child’s dental health our experts can help you answer any questions you might have. Find a dentist near you and to schedule your appointment today!