Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it should also be one in which you give extra attention to your oral health, hygiene and professional dental needs. Your dental and oral habits now can have an impact on your long-term health and the dental and overall health of your unborn child.
After you have your baby, it is essential to understand how your current oral health can affect your child. If a parent or any caretaker has tooth decay or gum disease, it is extremely important not to share a toothbrush or cup with the baby. The harmful bacteria and decay in the adult’s mouth can be passed on to the baby by sharing these items. Two recommended methods to decrease the bacteria are to use a chlorohexidine mouthwash or to chew gum with Xylitol.
We also recommend the following helpful guidelines:
- Wipe out your baby’s mouth every day with a soft wet washcloth. We recommend doing this even before any teeth have erupted.
- When a tooth/teeth have erupted, start brushing these teeth with a small, soft bristle toothbrush made for children.
- Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day – in the morning and before bedtime.
- Please consult your pediatric dentist or pediatrician about the type of toothpaste to use. Toothpastes contain fluoride, and the amount of toothpaste to use depends on the age and size of the child.
- Feed your baby healthy snacks, such as cheese, yogurt or fruit. These foods will help build strong teeth, unlike candy, soft drinks and sugary fruit juices.
- When putting your baby to sleep, do not give your baby a bottle of milk or juice. We understand this will soothe the child, but the sugars in these drinks will stick to the baby’s teeth while asleep. The sugars then develop into acid which cause tooth decay.
- Likewise, do not give your baby juice until he/she is 6 months old. We recommend only giving your baby 4-6 ounces of juice a day, with a meal, and not in between meals as a snack.
- If your baby has white spots on his/her teeth, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist. These white spots are often signs of tooth decay and the development of a cavity.
- Along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that your child have his/her first dental visit by his/her first birthday!