As many women will testify, the significant changes to the body mean taking extra care, and that includes oral health.
To ensure both mum and baby have and develop the very best oral health, the British Dental Health Foundation is offering the following information on dental care for mother and baby:
TEN FACTS ABOUT DENTAL CARE FOR MOTHER AND BABY
1. Your gums may bleed more easily during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, and so frequent visits to the dentist and a high level of oral hygiene are advised.
2. Your baby is more likely to have poor teeth if you smoke due to the enamel not being formed correctly.
3. Good nutrition from the mother during pregnancy is important in order for baby’s teeth to develop.
4. Adult teeth are developing in the jaws below baby teeth at birth.
5. Expect teething to begin around six months and last until all 20 baby teeth arrive at around 2 and a half.
6. Signs of teething include swollen or red gums where the tooth is coming through, the cheek on the side of the mouth where the tooth is appearing may be red and disrupted sleeping pattern for both parents and baby.
7. Poor oral health during pregnancy increases the chances of premature birth and low birth weight babies.
8. Dental treatment is perfectly safe during pregnancy, but do inform your dentist.
9. There is no truth in the rumour about calcium deficiency due to pregnancy causes tooth problems.
10. You are entitled to free NHS dental treatment, including check-ups and prescriptions, if you are pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months.
FIVE TIPS FOR MOTHER AND BABY DENTAL CARE
In addition to following the Foundation’s three keyrules for good oral health (2), the following tips are recommended for mother and baby:
1. If you are sick through morning sickness, rinse your mouth out with water to prevent the acid in the vomit attacking your teeth and causing enamel erosion.
2. Introduce your baby to the sights and sounds of the dental practice at an early age to allay any dental phobia that might develop, take them with you when you go for a check up.
3. Wean your baby off the bottle early to avoid them developing dental problems.
4. As soon as your baby begins teething you should start cleaning their teeth with a 1000ppm fluoride toothpaste.
5. Avoid using a dummy and discourage baby from sucking their thumb as both can cause oral developmental problems.
For free, confidential and impartial advice about how to improve your oral care, contact the Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit the Tell Me About section of the Foundation’s website at http://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/children-s-teeth/dental-care-for-mother-and-baby
2. The British Dental health Foundation promotes three key messages for good oral health:
• Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
• Cut down on how often you eat sugary food and drinks.
• Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.