If you’re a woman who is expecting a baby, you might have heard how some women choose not to go to the dentist while pregnant. This is because they believe that dental treatments might harm their babies. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, the American Dental Association along with other well-respected organizations – such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, to name just a few – all strongly recommend that women continue to receive regular dental care from their dentists during pregnancy.
Recent studies have shown that mothers-to-be with gum disease actually end up with bacteria in their bloodstream that can negatively impact their babies, sometimes resulting in very low birth weights and/or premature labor.
If you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to take care of your own oral health so that both you and your child will benefit. Here are some special oral health tips for mothers-to-be:
- Keep brushing and flossing. Now is not the time to fall behind on your regular oral hygiene routine. You should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- Follow up after vomiting. Unfortunately, morning sickness is an all-too-common problem for expectant mothers. If you vomit as a result of morning sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth with a mixture of one cup water and one teaspoon baking soda. Then, wait for an hour and brush your teeth. This follow-up will help to prevent erosion of the enamel layer on your teeth.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Stay away from foods with too much sugar, and choose instead snacks that are good for your overall health as well as your oral health. Great choices for snacks include fruits, nuts, vegetables and cheese. Remember that if you develop bacteria that leads to tooth decay and/or gum disease, you could transmit that bacteria to your unborn child.
- Visit your dentist for regular oral exams and professional cleanings. Nothing should change when you’re pregnant, so continue to visit your dentist on a regular basis. Unless you are especially prone to tooth decay or gum disease, most dentists recommend that you visit them twice a year for oral exams and cleanings.
If you’re an expectant mother, you will find out very quickly how many myths there are about pregnancy and what you should or shouldn’t do during that nine months. Some of these myths may be valid, but others are completely false. Protect your oral health and the overall health of your unborn baby by brushing and flossing every day, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis while you’re pregnant.