If you’re a pregnant woman or a father-to-be, then you probably already know the importance of a woman’s dental care during pregnancy. But what about after pregnancy? Good dental care shouldn’t stop after giving birth.
We know that new babies can be very demanding. There will be days when you find yourself covered in baby sick, empty bottle in one hand and dirty nappy in the other. On days like those, your dental health might be the last thing on your mind. But it’s important to look after yourself as well as the newborn, and that includes your dental health too. On that note, here are our tips for post-pregnant oral health.
Gingivitis, also known as gum inflammation, is common during pregnancy: around two-fifths of pregnant women suffer from it. If you’ve already given birth and are taking the oral contraceptive pill, then this can also increase the risk of gingivitis.
Gingivitis is unpleasant as it causes sore and bleeding gums, so you’ll be happy to know that the risk of gingivitis decreases after pregnancy. Maintaining a good dental hygiene routine (brushing and flossing) also helps to combat gingivitis.
Pregnant women often have to postpone dental treatments if there’s a risk of harm to the foetus. After giving birth, you’ll be free to undergo all treatments again and get any dental problems sorted out.
But do tell your dentist if you are breastfeeding, as some treatments are not suitable for breastfeeding women. This is because medications can pass to the baby via the breast milk. Treatments that are safe include local anaesthetics, such as novocaine, bupivacaine and lidocaine, as well as x-rays and nitrous oxide.
Also keep in mind that NHS dental care is free for one year for new mothers – so you have no excuse to avoid your dentist!
A good diet is also important for a new mother’s oral health. Eat a diet high in vitamins (fruits and vegetables), omega-3 (walnuts and fish), iron (spinach and dark chocolate), and protein (meat, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts).
New mothers should also drink plenty of fluids, because breastfeeding can cause dehydration. Dehydration lowers the amount of saliva in your mouth which can make your mouth into an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, which we don’t want!
Your baby’s teeth
Of course, now you have a new family member, you no longer have just your own teeth to take care of; you also have your newborn’s teeth to worry about too. Oh well – no-one ever said that parenthood would be easy.
Your baby’s first tooth will arrive around at six months. From this point and before the first year, you should take the baby to the dentist for her first check-up.
You will also need to clean your baby’s teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure the toothpaste is fluoride-free as fluoride can be unsafe for young children.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns then do make an appointment with us, whether for yourself, your partner or your baby.