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Oral Health & Pregnancy: Get the Facts!

February 12th, 2014



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Patrice Pascual
Executive Director, 
Children’s Dental Health Project

 

Congratulations, mom-to-be! While it may be far from your mind right now, this is a very important time to think about the health of your teeth and mouth, and the impact it may have on the health of your new baby.

Going to the dentist while you are pregnant is safe.  And you may need extra attention to your oral health during this time. Unfortunately, hormone levels due to pregnancy may increase your risk of dental problems. Talk to your health provider, or they may ask you whether you have any dental problems. Seeing a dentist for a check-up or to treat existing dental conditions is important.

If you do have oral health problems during pregnancy, you’re not alone. In fact, approximately 40% of pregnant women have some form of gum disease or tooth decay. If left untreated, these issues can have real consequences. Serious, untreated oral infections during pregnancy can lead to problems with your overall health and your baby’s, including increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight. Untreated oral health conditions during pregnancy may also put your child at higher risk for dental problems later in life.

The Children’s Dental Health Project is trying to get the word out that your mouth matters — for your health and your baby’s.  We are joined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which has advised doctors that “women should routinely be counseled about the maintenance of good oral health as well as the safety and importance of oral health care during pregnancy.”

What about your new baby?  The old wives tale about “soft teeth” isn’t totally false. There is a connection between a mom’s and a child’s teeth. The connection is a bacteria that can be passed between you and your baby that may make it easier for your child to get cavities.

Here are a few tips can help to reduce the chance that your child has to deal with cavities early in life.

  • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle unless it is water.
  • Wipe your baby’s mouth with a clean wet wash cloth after each feeding.
  • Clean your baby’s pacifier with water, not by licking it clean in your mouth.
  • Do not share cups, utensils, or food to avoid passing cavity-causing bacteria to your baby.
  • Both mom and your future “solid food-eater” should limit sweets and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Baby’s first dental visit should happen earlier than you might think. It is generally recommended that a child be seen by a dentist by the age of one year, or within six months after the first tooth comes in. This visit is usually short and involves very little treatment, but helps to establish a friendly and positive relationship, while checking to be sure the gums and teeth are healthy.

If you want to check out additional resources that we have available on pregnant women and dental health, please find them on our website, here.

Wishing you and your baby loads of health & happiness!

12 Responses to “Oral Health & Pregnancy: Get the Facts!

  1. Jeanne@ Dental Tourism in Mexico says:

    As a pregnant woman, there are so much things to think about to ensure the health of the body and the baby, but oral hygiene is often not on the list. Most of us don’t know that pregnancy can lead to dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay, which can cause to premature birth triggered by gum infection. Proper oral hygiene at home and professional help from the dentist will make sure that your teeth remain healthy throughout pregnancy. A regular desire for sugary snacks may also increase tooth decay, so it’s also important to fight through your food cravings or pick a healthier options like fresh fruits.

  2. Dr. Tagliarini says:

    Pregnant women aren’t just eating for two, they are brushing for two! Everything to-be moms do while they are pregnant can have some kind of effect on their child. You eat the right food, take the right vitamins, why not make sure your teeth are in tip-top shape?

  3. Steffany Mohan says:

    A pregnant mother cares a lot for herself as its in turn caring for the kid which is about to come in this world and these tips are immensely helpful for all mothers like us. Having the right food in the right proportion would help in proper overall health. Avoidance of sugary snacks is always advisable as its not good for teeth and overall health too.

  4. Brent Greene says:

    In our pediatric practice in Oklahoma City, our dentists hear the phrase “I just didn’t know” from parents, on a regular basis. The constant battle is good and timely eduction for moms and dads as to the risk and reasons for early tooth decay in their infants. Early childhood decay is an epidemic!

    The six points you listed above are so important for new moms to consider as they go about their daily activities. Please, please take your child to see the pediatric dentist by age one or within six months of their first tooth erupting. It will save you many tears and a trunk load of dollars if you follow this one basic step. For parents that are looking for science based information and easy steps to help you raise cavity free kids, you can find more info and advice from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. Visit their parent friendly site at http://www.mychildrensteeth.org

    Thank you Patricia for sharing these great steps with your readers.
    Brent Greene
    Practice Development
    Smile Galaxy Pediatric Dentistry in Oklahoma City, OK
    Http:www.SmileGalaxyKids.com

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  6. steve@adelaide.dentist says:

    Very helpful tips for pregnant women’s oral health, great job.

  7. Dentist in Park Ridge says:

    Same for gingivitis. It is easier for a child to get it (likely later in life) if the mom has it.

  8. Anna P. says:

    As a massage therapist who works with pregnant women, I have not thought about oral health and how that can impact the unborn baby. I was under the impression that it could be dangerous for pregnant women to have any procedures other than a routine cleaning until after their baby is born. However, routine cleanings and check-ups are extremely important due to the hormonal changes mentioned in the article. Thanks for the informative article.

  9. Jessica F says:

    I felt my oral health deteriorated when I was pregnant yet I missed brushing my teeth with the usual frequency due to my morning sickness. Good thing, fast tracking my fluoride treatment gained back my good oral health.

  10. Michael J. Tucker says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog about dental health, I hope I’ll be ready when I come to this stage of my life.

  11. Harvey Chin says:

    During pregnancy, good oral health is the first requirement for your unborn baby. Your oral health may affect due to hormonal changes. To avoid dental issues, improve your daily oral habits and always go for a dental checkup at the same time of regular interval. This article has some useful tips which also help to improve child dental health.

  12. dentist in paducah ky says:

    Great read Patrice. I’m expecting my first child in less than a month. I’ve noticed some oral hygiene problems in the last few months, but wasn’t sure if it was normal. I’m scheduling a dental appointment for next week. :)

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