As pediatric dentists, Dr. Frank Sierra and Dr. Mark Dawoud challenge you to start thinking about your children's dental health prenatally. The Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP) is doing a great job of getting prenatal oral health information out to the community.
Research shows that a woman's oral health during pregnancy is a great predictor of her child's risk of tooth decay. Mothers also unintentionally transmit to infants the bacteria that play the main role in causing tooth decay. That’s one of the main reasons children end up with cavities later on.
CDHP mentions that four in 10 pregnant women have tooth decay or gum disease, but many are not seeking dental care. The acidity level in the mouth also rises during pregnancy, thus putting them at even greater risk of dental issues. To compound that factor, hormonal changes cause gums to swell and bleed, creating vulnerability to infection and possibly discomfort as a reason to become negligent in care.
Overall health for expectant mothers contributes to the less complications and health issues in their newborns. There is a connection of low birth-weight, pre-term births, and other issues related to the oral health of pregnant women. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, CDHP shares four ways pregnant women can give their newborns a healthy start by taking care of their own oral health.
- Make and keep your regular dental appointment. Getting a dental exam will help to identify any oral health problems, so you can get treatment and guidance.
- Brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. It is especially important to brush before bed, because the mouth produces less saliva at night, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to cavity causing bacteria.
- Drink tap water daily. Many communities in the U.S. add fluoride to their drinking water, making it an even better choice. Most brands of bottled waters have little or no fluoride. Limit or avoid sodas, "energy drinks," and sugary beverages.
- Talk to your dentist or doctor about ways to prevent or manage any dental problems. Tooth decay is preventable, even after the decay process has started.
The guidelines are something that everyone should do. To start being a great mom, you should really stick to these, and use your good oral health as a healthy start for baby.