Tooth care during pregnancy

Oral health is an important part of your and your family’s overall health and dental care from a young age is vital. Here are a few guidelines for pregnant woman and babies from the Colgate team of dental professionals:

Oral health in pregnancy

• Planning to get pregnant? Visit your dentist beforehand for a check-up and a proper clean so you know you’re starting out with healthy teeth and gums.
• If you’re already pregnant, see your dentist in your first trimester because having X-rays at a later trimester could affect the baby.
• Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your teeth and gums. Brush with a soft toothbrush and use mouthwash after brushing to avoid tooth decay.
• If you vomit due to morning sickness, always rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Vomiting causes acid in your mouth and rinsing helps to get rid of this. Don’t brush your teeth straight after vomiting as the acid can damage the hard outer layer of your teeth (enamel). Wait at least 20 mins before brushing.

Look after your baby’s teeth

• Massage baby’s gums with a clean damp cloth or wet gauze during bath time. This will help get them used to brushing when the first teeth appear at around four months old.
• Don’t share utensils with your child or ‘clean’ a dummy by putting it in your mouth. You may transfer germs that harm their teeth.
• Never fill your child’s bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks. This can cause decay and result in cavities (holes in the teeth) when they fall asleep with the bottle.
• When your baby’s first teeth are visible, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a tiny amount of baby toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) and brush their teeth and gums gently twice a day. From age three years, use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
• Try to avoid your baby sucking their thumb as this can cause teeth to grow skew at a later stage. Use a clean orthodontic dummy if you need to. Never dip it in sugar or honey.
• Encourage your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday.

Source: Copy supplied by Colgate
Image: Getty/Gallo