This is an exciting time of planning, dreaming and growth. You’re probably planning the nursery, choosing car seats but just as important you need to be taking care of your health. Your baby might not be here for many months but your current health is impacting your baby.
Research has shown links between periodontal disease in expecting mothers and adverse outcomes in pregnancy including preterm deliveries, low birth weight babies and pre-eclampsia. Taking care of your oral health will directly benefit your unborn baby. Here are some tips to follow:
You should know that cavities are caused by bacteria. Babies are not born with this bacteria. Caregivers can actually pass cavity causing bacteria when they share spoons or clean pacifiers with their own mouth. Caregivers should take good care of their own mouth to reduce the bacteria and limit activities where saliva can be shared with a baby.
Whether nursing or bottle feeding, remember to wipe his/her gums and brush his/her teeth with a wet toothbrush or cloth. NEVER put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or let your baby fall asleep nursing. Baby bottle tooth decay is a common problem and milk stored in a baby’s mouth while he/she sleeps contributes to this. Bottles should be filled with milk or juice only during meal time. Between meals give your baby a bottle filled with water.
If your child is having difficulty latching when nursing she may need to be evaluated for a frenectomy. A frenectomy is indicated when the child’s tongue has limited mobility due to a muscle attachment. This simple procedure can be done in a pediatric dental office. Discuss any nursing difficulties first with a lactation consultant.