So you’re a new mom — or about to be. In preparation for motherhood, you’re probably educating yourself on the best pregnancy practices and what to do to make sure that your baby is healthy. While you’re eating the right diet, taking vitamins to supplement your nutrition, and getting some physical activity in, don’t forget to also take care of your oral health.
While it seems far-fetched for dental care to affect you or your baby, there are actually links between your oral and overall health. Here’s everything you need to know about pregnancy dental care for adult women, as well as tips to ensure proper oral health for your baby and for when they reach toddler age.
There’s a common misconception that pregnant women should not go to the dentist as dental procedures can harm their pregnancy. However, this isn’t true. There’s a more pressing reason during pregnancy to regularly see the dentist and keep your dental health in check. Ideally, you should be having your checkups in your first to second trimester.
Morning sickness, for example, can have detrimental effects on a pregnant woman’s teeth, tongue, and gums. There’s also the tendency for pregnant women to have swollen and bleeding gums because of hormonal changes. Going to the dentist can help spot possible issues and address them as soon as possible.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, a dental cleaning will not harm your pregnancy nor will it cause your teeth to loosen. There’s no harm in having your teeth cleaned while pregnant and your second trimester is the best time to do so.
Nothing about your oral hygiene should change while you’re pregnant. You should still be brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash daily — at least twice a day. However, there can be instances that the flavors of your toothpaste or mouthwash make you gag, especially during your morning oral hygiene session. When this happens, you can opt to switch to flavorless toothpaste and mouthwash.
Dental hygiene may not be the first thing that new parents think of immediately after their baby is born. But it’s important to start taking care of your baby’s gums and mouth right away. Before they start teething, you can clean your baby’s gums using a washcloth soaked in warm water.
After four to eight months, your baby will start teething. You can start using an infant toothbrush on them when their first tooth comes out. But make sure to only use water to brush their teeth. Fluoride toothpaste in small amounts is also acceptable.
As young as your baby is, you should already start scheduling their first trip to the dentist. Their first dental exam should be conducted within six months after their first tooth emerges or on their first birthday, whichever comes first.
At the age of two to three years, your child’s baby teeth should have completely erupted. By this time, you can already start introducing daily flossing to their oral health routine. When your toddler reaches the age of 3, they are ready to brush with more toothpaste.
At this point, your child is already beginning to adopt a good oral hygiene routine. To make sure that they have a solid and correct foundation for their future oral health routine, you need to start educating them on proper brushing techniques.
Teach them how to properly brush and floss their teeth, cover all areas of their mouth, and spit instead of swallow. Ideally, they should brush for at least two full minutes and target all the corners of their mouth.
As your child’s baby teeth develop and become replaced with permanent teeth, you may notice some things that will concern you, such as loose teeth, crowding, thumb sucking, etc. Your dentist will be more than happy to address your concerns and explain why this happens to toddlers. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist any questions about oral care for children — all your questions and concerns are welcome.
Dental health can be directly linked to your overall health and wellness — as well as that of your child’s. Pregnant or not, you should be practicing optimal oral care and visiting your dentist at least twice a year.