You’re pregnant!!! Such an exciting time in your life!
Now more than ever, the health of your mouth is important! Why? Because poor oral hygiene can affect the growth of your baby, cause low birth weight or premature delivery, to name a few.
So many decisions, as a Dental hygienist, I would not be doing my job if I did not advocate for a healthy mouth!
Brush 2 minutes 2x a day, visit your dentist, especially if it has been a while or you have bleeding gums.
If you are experiencing morning sickness and can not brush, rinse with water to neutralize the acids in your mouth and chew sugarless gum with the first active ingredient xylitol to help reduce the bacteria that cause cavities!
I could not use toothpaste without gagging, so I just brushed with water for two months of my pregnancy.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is so essential it promotes a healthy start to life.
Your Baby’s Teeth
Did you know baby teeth start to form even before your baby is born?
Your child’s oral health begins before you even see teeth!
Most people don’t understand the importance of oral health and how it’s connected to lifelong overall health!
Primary teeth (also called baby teeth or deciduous teeth) begin to form about six weeks after conceiving a baby.
By the time your baby is born, all 20 primaries ( baby) teeth are present in the jawbones.
The permanent teeth also begin to develop before birth.
There is a need for more education teaching parents the best way to care for their children’s teeth.
It is extremely important to keep primaries or baby teeth until they naturally fall out!
Here are a few reasons baby teeth are important:
They are involved in speech development
Hold the space for permanent teeth to erupt properly
They promote a healthy smile increasing self-esteem
Help chew food properly for proper nutrition
Some babies are born with teeth, although it is rare.
The baby teeth start to come through the gums at about 4-6 months of age, and all the teeth have usually appeared in the mouth by the time your baby is 2 to 3 years of age, this is known as teething.
Signs of teething
- Swollen gums
- A tooth visible below the gum
- Trouble sleeping
- Putting stuff in their mouth trying to bite, suck, and chew on anything and everything
Some painkillers are safe to use for babies six months and older. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) Always check the label or ask your Dr. for the safe dosage for your baby’s weight.
Breast or bottle feeding?
To breastfeed or bottle-feed, there are many different opinions on this topic as in everything you can find studies for or against both.
Ultimately it is a personal choice!
While there are many excellent medical benefits to breastfeeding like nursing strengthens the babies immune system!
There are many great dental reasons to breastfeed; babies who are exclusively breastfed for at least six months are less likely to have teeth alignment issues and breathing issues.
It does not mean they won’t need braces someday; other factors may cause malocclusion, genetics, pacifier, thumb sucking. There are definite benefits if it is at all possible!
If not finding a bottle that mimics the breast is the next best thing!
I said I would only nurse my daughter until she got teeth! The joke was on me; she did not get teeth until she was 13 months.
Even if your child gets teeth early, you can still nurse. Having as much information as possible helps you make an informed decision on which option is right for you!
Have you heard the saying the best-laid plans? I used to be a planner!
People that know me now would laugh at that! Sometimes the plan you make is not what ends up happening. You may need to be flexible and call an audible, or in my case, throw the idea out the window!
Knowledge, attitude, and behavior are critical factors for parents and caregivers in determining the choices you will make for your families oral health routine.
My goal is to give you the 411 you need to make good choices and decisions for your family and reduce the number of kids with cavities.