A mother’s oral health can affect children even before birth. Children learn most of their lifelong oral health habits from those taught by their parents. During pregnancy, however, a mother’s oral health can be impacted by the pregnancy itself, through hormonal changes, as well as have an impact on the birth of the baby. Even if the mother is somewhat lax regarding checkups and cleanings, expectant mothers should visit their dentist at least once every six months, which is typically two visits during pregnancy.
Part of caring for the growing baby involves caring for oneself. Taking prenatal vitamins and other physician-recommended supplements could help ensure the expectant mother is receiving vital nutrients to support the baby’s development. A nutritious, well-balanced and somewhat scheduled diet will also help in the development of the baby and the mother’s continued health. Most physicians recommend a diet low in excess sugar and low in unhealthy, unnecessary fats to ensure the mother’s pregnancy weight-gain is stable and healthy for both her and her baby.
Daily routine at-home dental care will play a huge role in the oral health of expectant mothers. True for all patients, the gums should not easily bleed or swell from chewing, eating, flossing, or brushing. If any swelling or bleeding of the gums is noted, it should be discussed with our dentist as soon as possible. Expectant mothers should floss their teeth at least once a day, and if only flossing once daily it should be done at night before brushing. The teeth should be brushed at least twice daily, using a fluoride-based dentist-approved toothpaste to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, cavities, and gum disease.
Morning sickness doesn’t plague every expectant mother, but when it does, it may last for a very short length of time or the length of the pregnancy. If the morning sickness includes vomiting, avoid the urge to brush teeth immediately after as this can weaken enamel from the increased acids in the mouth. Instead, it is recommended that the mother rinse her mouth with a mixture of 1-cup cool or lukewarm water and 1-teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda mixture will help reduce acids in the mouth quickly, and although it doesn’t taste too appetizing, it can preserve teeth and protect the mother’s oral health during pregnancy.
Any concerns about the health of teeth and gums should be discussed early in the pregnancy with our dentist to ensure the best success at keeping the mouth and overall body healthy. For more information on pregnancy and oral health, call our office and set up an appointment with our caring dental team today!