During pregnancy, teeth and gums need special attention. Both regular and emergency dental care during pregnancy is safe, recommended and important for a pregnant person and their developing baby.
There can be a lot of changes to your mouth during pregnancy!
- Hormonal changes can cause gums to bleed easily and/or swell.
- Morning sickness may also pose a risk to your oral health
- Dietary changes – more snacking or cravings
Dental cleanings will help decrease the number of bacteria in the mouth, helping reduce inflammation of your gums and prevent tooth decay. This can also help the baby after they are born! Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. The bacteria that causes tooth decay can be unintentionally passed from parents to children through normal activities. Saliva and bacteria may be shared by cleaning off a pacifier or bottle your mouth, and the sharing of utensils, cups or toothbrushes. Seeing a dental provider regularly can lower the bacteria in a pregnant person’s mouth and can greatly reduce the amount of bacteria shared with baby.
Here are some things a pregnant person can do to take care of their mouth:
- Make regular dental appointments.
- Brush teeth twice every day and floss daily to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Limit foods containing sugar to mealtimes if possible; frequent snacking on foods high in sugar can cause cavities.
- Choose water and avoid carbonated drinks with sugar.
- Choose fruit rather than fruit juice.
- If you have morning sickness, rinsing your mouth with one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after you’re sick can help prevent damage to your teeth.
A dentist can:
- Check for cavities and gum disease, which can be present even without symptoms.
- Provide information on how to prevent dental problems.
- Provide care to keep your mouth healthy.
Things a parent can do to take care of their baby’s mouth:
- Wipe baby’s teeth after feeding with a soft cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Avoid putting child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than water.
- Limit behaviors that may share saliva, like sharing a spoon when tasting baby food or cleaning a dropped pacifier by mouth.
- Make sure all family members visit the dentist regularly to keep their mouths healthy, too.
- Visit a dentist. A child’s first visit with a dentist should be when the child is 12 months old or when the first tooth comes in.