This is a sponsored post on behalf of Texas Department of State Health Services and The Motherhood about the importance of good oral care for pregnant women and infants. All opinions are my own.
During my pregnancies, I remember there were so many things I had to keep in mind. There were certain things I was not supposed to eat and drink. Then, there were other things I was supposed to be eating and drinking.
Especially during my first pregnancy, I read, watched videos and TV shows, and asked friends and family for any information, advice, and stories to help prepare me for what was ahead.
Everyone seemed to have advice on what products to buy, tips about pregnancy symptoms, things to do to naturally induce labor, and other suggestions on preparing for the baby. Among all of the advice, I do not recall any of these people talking about oral health.
Good Oral Health Care for Mom and Baby
In addition to buying the suggested baby products, watching what you eat and drink, preparing for labor, and taking pictures of your growing belly, it’s important to focus on your oral health during pregnancy and after giving birth.
Brushing for Two During Pregnancy
Did you know that during pregnancy, women may be at a higher risk for dental problems? According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, just one-third of women in Texas had their teeth cleaned during pregnancy. By visiting a dentist during pregnancy, you can keep a watch out for problems such as cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, tooth erosion, tumors, and other issues that could harm you or the baby.
There’s a common myth that dental x-rays are harmful to pregnancy, but this is just a misconception. Dental x-rays with lead shielding are safe during pregnancy.
Then, once the baby is born, it’s just as important to continue good oral health habits. Children are at a higher risk of developing dental cavities if their parents are not taking care of their own teeth and gums.
So even babies (with the help of their parents) should begin a good oral health routine, starting at day one.
Clean is a New Routine
Make oral health care part of your everyday routine. Begin and end each day with a thorough brushing and flossing. Twice a year, make it a habit to visit your dentist.
How to Take Care of Baby’s Teeth and Gums
To keep your baby’s mouth healthy, soon after birth, start by cleaning your baby’s gums daily by wiping them with a clean, wet washcloth. Then, once the baby’s teeth come in you can brush their teeth twice a day with a dot of fluoride toothpaste made for kids under 3. Continue to keep an eye on your child’s mouth for anything unusual including white or brown spots.
If your baby has teething pain, try using chilled teething rings or over-the-counter pain medicine.
Remember, the first smile your baby sees is yours. By taking care of your own oral health you are setting a good example and helping to keep your family healthy. Continue “twice is nice” oral care habits by brushing and flossing each day and be sure to regularly visit your dentist.
For more information about oral care during and after pregnancy for both you and your babies, visit the Smiles for Moms and Babies page on Texas Department of State Health Services site.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.