Proper Oral Care for You and Your Baby

Pregnancy and welcoming a new born baby are two of the most exciting times in your life. It is also a time to focus on your dental care as an expectant mother and to begin care before your baby is born.

Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic bacterial infection that causes inflammation that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. All infections are cause for concern among pregnant woman because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. It is advised that periodontal evaluations become part of a mother's prenatal care.

Many people are unaware that they even have periodontal disease, often times having no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Since successful treatment of periodontal disease has been shown to reduce complications of pregnancy, it is important to understand warning signs which include red and swollen gums, bleeding gums while brushing or flossing, and persistent bad breath.

Your baby's health starts in the womb. Not only is it important for mothers to eat healthy, it is also important to care for their teeth.

Here are some tips on preventing or lessening periodontal disease:

  • Brush your teeth at least two times a day
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Avoid sticky, sugary snacks
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year

When to Start Caring for your Baby's Teeth

Once your baby is born, good oral health habits with your child should start immediately.

Parents can transfer decay-causing bacteria into the child's mouth by simply kissing them on the lips or sharing a spoon. Baby teeth are important, so start your child's oral health program before the first tooth comes in. Here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Wipe your baby's teeth with a wash cloth or brush with a tooth brush as soon as teeth erupt
  • Use a soft bristled tooth brush by the time molars erupt
  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle
  • Give your baby sugared drinks or juices sparingly
  • Have a dental exam by your baby's first birthday

Talk to your dentist to determine what is right for you and your child. Check your plan benefits for coverage information.

For more information on how oral health can affect your child's overall health, visit Dental Wellness Center on the Special Beginnings Resources page.

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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