Five Tips on Oral Health for Pregnant Women

Seems crazy, but there are many pregnant women who abstain from visiting the dentist during pregnancy because they have heard it can cause harm to their growing babies.  We’re not sure where this myth originated, but it’s just that – a myth, and here’s why.

Dental associations all over the continent, including the Canadian Dental Association, the American Dental Association, as well as numerous obstetricians, gynecologists and pediatricians agree that women should continue with normal dental care throughout their pregnancies.  Not only should they continue, but women are encouraged to keep their mouths in tip top shape, especially during pregnancy.  This means regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist to ensure everything is right and healthy.

As most women end up doing a lot of reading and research about what to do, or not to do during pregnancy, this is a good time to pass on the benefits of oral health.  Keep reading for 5 Tips on Oral Health for Pregnant Women.

Know the benefits and the risks

As stated above, pregnancy is not the time to develop or leave gum disease untreated.  The bacteria in your mouth from untreated gum disease and caries can end up in your bloodstream and have a negative impact on your baby.  Low birth-weight and premature birth are most common.  A mother’s oral health is important even after the baby has been born.  Caries and bacteria in a mother’s mouth can be transferred to her baby through sharing saliva.  This can happen when sharing spoons, testing your baby’s food, cleaning pacifiers on the go and many other shared connections mothers have with their babies.  We wont rehash the benefits of good oral health but know that they fully apply to pregnant women and become even more important.

Keep a healthy diet

What you put into your body during your pregnancy directly affects your baby’s health.  Moms-to-be should be eating healthy foods in variety.  Vegetables, cheese, fruits, nuts etc. can be great snacks anytime cravings strike (which is probably often).  Make sure you drink lots of water and eat high calcium foods like lentils, beans peas, dark leafy greens, lean meat and lots more. Low fat milk is also a good option. Cut back or eliminate acidic foods, juices and carbonated sodas.  Also avoid sugar as much as you can, both for overall health and for your oral health.  Remember to brush and floss after meals to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.

Your oral hygiene routine

Everyone needs a proper oral health routine – especially pregnant moms.  Brush your teeth at least twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste.  Rinse well but don’t ingest the toothpaste though.  Floss regularly as well!  A common experience shared by pregnant women is nausea and vomiting.  If vomiting occurs, rinse your mouth with a cup of water containing a teaspoon of baking soda to remove the acid left in your mouth.  Then wait an hour before brushing your teeth to avoid undue dental erosion caused by the extra acidity.

Schedule professional dental care

Now more than ever it’s important to make your sure your mouth is healthy and clean.  There’s no better way to ensure oral health than to visit your dental professional for a cleaning and check-up.  Dental cleanings and treatments are completely safe for pregnant women, so don’t wait until after your pregnancy to schedule a visit.

Dental care for your newborn baby

Nine months might seem like a long time, but before you know it, your baby will arrive, and your newborn’s oral health becomes your responsibility.  With babies, prevention is the best medicine, so it’s important to book your child’s first visit to the dentist as soon as his or her first tooth erupts or the child’s first birthday.  Remember, good habits need to be learned early in life and dental care is one of the most important habits of all.

If you have any questions or concerns about oral health and your pregnancy, or your baby – don’t hesitate to contact one of our convenient clinics and we’ll be happy to consult with you.

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