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The Important Health Routine that Every Pregnant Woman, Birthing Person, and Infant Needs



In each step of your pregnancy journey, you listen to your doctor and oblige to any and all care rules.


You’re holding space and time to go to all your prenatal checkups; getting poked, prodded, and screened. The desire for a healthy pregnancy and baby has created a laser-focus within you – you take note of every symptom and change along the way.


Yet, there’s a part of your body that deserves attention that might be getting ignored. Yes, even with all your appointments, this one body part is often overlooked. Curious?


It’s your teeth.


The importance of dental health during pregnancy is one that needs attention. You may be familiar with the knowledge that your oral care is linked to heart disease and other illnesses.


Yet, did you know as a mother, your dental health during your pregnancy can affect your birth and infant?


Changes in your hormones and your body can affect your dental health while pregnant. Untreated symptoms and infections can even be transferred to your infant and affect their oral health.


To help combat the rise in oral care issues, dental health, and birthing professionals are working together. Both with the determination to share key information and treatment.



Does Dental Health Affect Pregnancy?

As a woman, birthing person, and mother, your body is the vessel for your baby to thrive. This means, that when your health is affected it can affect your baby’s health. While your doctor is focused on your growing baby and health for your upcoming birth, they’re probably not checking your teeth.


This is alarming since your dental health has a direct effect on your pregnancy.


The facts are that 60-70% of pregnant women have gingivitis and an early stage of periodontal disease.1


Gingivitis is a form of gum disease and if left untreated can cause tooth and bone loss. The reason? The change in your body’s hormones during pregnancy. And unfortunately, when it comes to your dental health and pregnancy, Gingivitis isn’t the worst.


Some studies have shown that periodontitis, a more serious gum infection, can cause preterm birth and low birth weight in infants. 2 What’s more, poor oral health is associated with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and heart disease. 3


To make your dental health a priority during your pregnancy and beyond, there are a few preventative things you can do –


  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.

The first step in dental health during pregnancy is prevention. When you brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste and floss, you’re giving your teeth proper attention and care.


  • Visit your dentist every six months.

Keep up with your dental health during pregnancy and go to regularly scheduled appointments. When you’re up to date in your dental care, your dentist will be able to help combat any problems that may arise. During these appointments make sure to talk candidly with your dentist about the medications you’re on and the symptoms you’re experiencing.


  • Limit Sweets and Sugars.

Cravings and pregnancy can go hand in hand. Yet, for many reasons, a nutritious diet that limits sugars and sweets is necessary for proper dental health during pregnancy. A well-balanced diet during pregnancy sustains your body’s vitamin and mineral needs, while also nurturing your growing baby.


If you’re practicing preventative care and are having oral pain, make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to treat and provide help with any dental health issues that arise during your pregnancy.


After your pregnancy, you can apply the same dental health care to your baby as you do yourself.



When to Start Oral Care For Your Baby

After birth, you’ll be given a lot of information on how to care for your baby. Yet, just like with pregnancy, infant oral care might not be on the list until your child is six months old.


However, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you’re on the right path for your infant's oral care. For example, infant oral care can start immediately after birth by cleaning their gums after each feeding. Wrap a warm clean cloth around your index finger and lightly run it across your infant’s gums. This will remove any bacteria or excess milk from their mouth.


If this is your first child it’s understandable to be unsure about infant oral care routines.


In this case, there are two ways to measure when to bring your infant to their first dentist appointment. You can go as early as when their first tooth sprouts or by 12 months old.


During this appointment, your dentist will look in your baby’s mouth and make sure all of their teeth and gums look healthy. Your dentist will inform you that your infant's oral care will now include a light brushing of their teeth.


With infant oral care you want to lightly brush your infant's teeth and gums, and make sure to use a very soft bristle brush without any toothpaste.


At your child’s visit ask your dentist about any infant oral care questions you have and how to create a healthy routine.


Your infant oral care routine will continue with this step until age two when your baby can start using a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste. At this point, your baby will have also been to the dentist a few times to make sure their teeth are coming in correctly and staying healthy.



Dental Health Plan for Parents

Creating a dental health plan can feel overwhelming to parents and caregivers. Especially, if you may not have the best dental health plan yourself.


Yet, taking proper care of your dental health during pregnancy and your infant's oral care is an essential step in both of your health routines. In order to help guide your journey, I want to offer support and helpful tools along your path to parenthood.


When you join the Modern Community email list you get free resources and helpful information delivered right to your inbox.


I share insight from my years of experience as a birthing and family professional.


I’m here to offer extra support, guidance, and hold space as a member of your village.


Learn how I can make your parenting experience more joyful here.




References

2. Corbella S, Taschieri S, Del Fabbro M, Francetti L, Weinstein R, Ferrazzi E. Adverse pregnancy outcomes and periodontitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis exploring potential association. Quintessence Int. 2016 Mar;47(3):193-204. doi: 10.3290/j.qi.a34980. PMID: 26504910.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26504910/




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