Pregnancy is such an exciting time! Among all the considerations, going to the dentist may not be high on an expectant mother’s list. But it should be.
Good dental habits not only help you prevent problems during your pregnancy – they can also affect the health of your unborn child.
Read on for important dental health tips from First Impressions Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics that will benefit both of you.
What you eat during the nine months of pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child – including their teeth. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, says Dr. Tom Turner, managing partner and pediatric dentist with First Impressions. It is especially important to receive sufficient amounts of calcium, phosphorous, and Vitamins A, C, and D, says Tom Turner, managing partner and pediatric dentist with First Impressions.
Continue to see your dentist regularly for oral exams and professional teeth cleaning. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant (or are planning to become pregnant soon).
During pregnancy, your body’s hormone levels rise considerably. This may result in red, puffy, or tender gums that tend to bleed when you brush your teeth. Be sure to contact your dentist if you are concerned. S/he may recommend more frequent cleanings during your second trimester or early third trimester to help you avoid problems.
After baby arrives, oral health care may once again not be top of mind. But as you get accustomed to numerous feedings, changings, and attempts at catching naptime (!), try to include wiping baby’s gums into your routine. “A damp washcloth or wet piece of soft gauze will wipe away any sugars left behind after each feeding,” explains Dr. Joe Jackson, pediatric dentist at First Impressions.
Your baby’s first set of teeth – the primary or “baby” teeth – will begin to erupt about six months after birth. Unfortunately, these little pearly whites are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. Schedule your child’s first pediatric dentist appointment after the first tooth pokes through (and no later than the child’s first birthday). Studies show that children who visit a dentist by age one have 3.5 fewer cavities.
Moreover, strong, healthy primary teeth help your child to chew food, learn to speak clearly, and give your child’s face it’s shape and form.
Consider your child’s first dentist appointment a “well-baby check-up” for their teeth! “The appointment will include a cleaning while your child is in your lap,” explains Dr. Meghan Nation, pediatric dentist at First Impressions. She continues, “A pediatric dentist will examine your child’s teeth and you will discuss feeding habits, care of teeth, and any concerns you may have.”
In addition to the valuable conversation regarding diet, habits, and prevention of decay, early dental appointments also help establish a positive relationship between your child and their dentist! This rapport may set the stage for a lifetime of good dental habits!