A lot of pregnant women skip dental visits thinking that dental treatments during pregnancy can harm their babies.
The Australian Dental Association, the Australian Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Australian Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to get dental care while pregnant.
In fact, studies show that the bacteria from gum disease can actually get into the bloodstream and target the fetus, potentially leading to premature labor and low-birth-weight babies.
Pregnancy offers an opportunity to educate pregnant women regarding oral health by providing a “teachable moment” in self-care and future child-care.
Here are Sundial Dentals top five oral healthcare tips for pregnant mothers:
1. Know your facts and risks – Good oral health can reduce your risk of having a premature baby.
2. Oral Hygiene– Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily to keep your gums healthy. Remember, if you have good oral health habits, your child will too! If you experience vomiting, rinse with a cup of water containing a teaspoon of baking soda and wait an hour before brushing to avoid dental erosion.
3. Diet – What you eat affects your baby’s health. Snack on healthy foods like cheese sticks, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Drink lots of water and low-fat milk. Eat high calcium food instead of acidic food, juices and sodas. Avoid drinks and any food loaded with sugar as they might lead to caries and affect your baby’s health. Chewing sugarless or xylitol-containing gum can help minimize your caries risk.
4. Professional oral care – Get a dental check-up, it is completely safe to have most dental treatments while you are pregnant. Do not put off your dental visit until after you’ve had the baby.
5. Book your baby’s first dental appointment as soon as you see his/her first teeth erupt. We offer children a dental home where they can have a long-term friendly relationship with their dentist.
What’s the right age to bring a child in for their first dental check-up?
In order to prevent oral and dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when their first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday. Healthy habits start early in life. First birthday = First dental check-up.
Can a mother’s poor oral health status affect her baby’s oral health?
Yes, because the bacteria responsible for caries in a mother’s mouth are related to early childhood caries in their baby’s mouth. The same bacteria are transferred from mum to baby.
Mums and caregivers pass on the mentioned bacteria by sharing saliva, spoons, testing food before feeding it to the baby, cleaning off a pacifier in their mouth instead of with water and through various activities. So, make sure your mouth is healthy and taken care of before your baby is born. It’s important for pregnant mums to have their oral check-up as soon as possible, in order to treat and prevent any oral disease.