Information by Age Group:
0-12 Months 1-4 Years 5-10 Years 11+ Years General

Great Beginnings: Dental Care During Pregnancy And Postpartum

Taking steps to ensure the best overall health for you and your baby should begin as early as possible – even before your baby is born! Kids Dental offers prenatal counseling that addresses diet, care and lifestyle issues to help improve the oral health of mother and child.

What you need to know

It’s important that you consult with your doctor and if necessary, a dietiition to ensure your diet includes the proper amount of calcium, phosphorous and vitamins A, C, and D, all-important components for the development of healthy teeth and gums. Folic acid - vitamin B9 - contributes to a healthy pregnancy. 0.4 mg of folic acid daily is recommended starting 3 to 4 months before pregnancy, so likely as soon as you plan to conceive. It’s believed that folic acid supplementation protects the developing baby against various birth defects of the spine and brain.

Hormonal changes (increases in estrogen and progesterone) during pregnancy can increase an expectant mothers risk of gingivitis (gum disease.)   An important link has also been found between maternal gum disease and premature low birth weight babies. Periodontal disease in an expectant mother can cause an increase in the level of prostaglandin, a maternal hormone used to induce labor, and trigger premature delivery.

A fever or virus or any sort of infection during pregnancy could affect the quality and quantity of tooth structure that is forming in the fetus. The natural balance of calcium and phosphorus in the mother's bloodstream becomes distorted and can interfere with tooth formation until the mother becomes healthy again.

If a baby is born before term, there is a possibility that the child's teeth will be affected. Full-term babies are found to have fewer cavities than preterm babies.

What you need to do
  • Expectant mothers should keep their regular dental schedule.
  • Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day, after breakfast and before bed with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily.
  • Spit out toothpaste after brushing but don’t rinse with water as the fluoride in the residual toothpaste helps prevent cavities.
  • Rinse every night with fluoridated, alcohol-free mouth rise.
  • Visit a dentist at the first sign of active decay such as inflamed, swollen or bleeding gums.
Good nutrition, which is always important to dental health, is especially important during pregnancy.
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet including fruit, vegetables, whole grain products and unsweetened dairy products.
  • Limit the amount of and consumption of foods containing sugar to meal times. Sticky snacks that adhere to the teeth as well as many foods and beverages that include sugar promote tooth decay.
  • Choose fresh fruit rather than fruit juice or dried fruit. Only drink fruit juice at meal times, if at all.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks during pregnancy and breastfeeding; babies should not be exposed to any carbonated drinks before 30 months of age.
  • Flouridated water helps prevent tooth decay and is available through most community water sources. If you drink bottled water, look for brands that include fluoride at a ratio of 0.7 to 1.2 mg/l (ppm).
  • Breastfeeding your baby is a natural way to help prevent tooth decay through the spread of cavity-causing S. mutans that can be transmitted from mother to child through the mother’s saliva.
  • If you are bottle-feeding, avoid testing the temperature of the bottle with your mouth, sharing utensil or using your own saliva to clean a pacifier or bottle nipple.
  • Wear protective headgear when participating in any sports or physical activities that could result in an injury to the mouth.
  • Avoid oral piercings that could cause damage to the teeth and gums.
  • Remember that there’s no place in an expectant mom’s diet or life for drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
Call Kids Dental today to arrange your prenatal dental exam or review the section dental care for children 0 – 11 Months to find out how you can help ensure the best dental health for your new baby.  
Cholakis Dental Group
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