Mom’s Guide to Healthy Teeth for the Baby-To-Be
Baby is on the way—and it’s exciting for everyone.
It’s time for throwing baby showers and gender reveal parties. It’s time for clothes shopping and setting up the baby’s nursery. As you prepare to welcome a new little one, you’ll find yourself putting time into caring for your health and learning how to raise a happy, healthy baby. What about when it comes to your baby’s oral health? Is there anything important that shouldn’t be missed? Here’s a guide to healthy teeth for baby-to-be.
Take care of your own dental health during pregnancy.
One of the best things you can do for your baby is take care of your own health. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, and what affects you, affects your baby. The bacteria that causes cavities can be passed onto your baby, causing them to develop more cavities in their teeth later on.
Since pregnancy can make you more susceptible to developing gum disease, now is the time to be consistent with your dental care. Schedule an appointment right away and one for six months into the pregnancy. Take care of your teeth by brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once per day.
Are you noticing your gums bleed when you floss? Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is common in pregnancy. Don’t let it get out of hand! If you begin experiencing any signs of gingivitis, address those concerns with your dentist immediately. Gum disease is common, but preventable, even during pregnancy.
Continue to take good care of your teeth after the baby arrives, especially if you breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is important for those who can.
Not all moms breastfeed, but the American Dental Association recommends it for those who can and want to. Breastfeeding isn’t only good for your baby’s overall health, it’s proven to be an excellent way to give them a head start at having a healthy mouth.
Breastfed babies are less likely to develop cavities than babies who are bottle fed. Baby bottle tooth decay is less common in babies who drink breast milk, because the healthy antibodies that are naturally in breast milk reduce the amount of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
And when it comes to breastfeeding, longer is better.
If it’s possible, breastfeed for the first six months. The sucking motion helps ensure your baby’s jaw and palate develop correctly, which reduces their risk of developing bite issues like an open bite or crossbite later on.
In fact, breastfeeding for one year reduces your child’s chance of needing orthodontic treatment by 40%. Some studies show that breastfeeding for two years comes with additional benefits. Don’t stop breastfeeding just because your baby’s teeth come in. Stop when it’s right for you and your baby.
Tips for Brushing Baby’s First Teeth
There are many exciting milestones to look forward to. Baby’s first smile, first step, and first word are among some of the most anticipated. The first tooth is also fun. Our smiles are part of our personality, and it’s fun to watch your baby’s personality develop.
You don’t have to wait until your baby has a full set of teeth—or even one tooth—to start oral care. Start by wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, soft washcloth their very first month. Doing this will help your baby get familiar with the feeling of you cleaning their mouths, and it also removes bacteria. Do this twice a day until their first teeth begin to come in.
Your baby’s primary teeth will likely begin to erupt when they’re between six and 12 months old. When the first tooth emerges, brush it with a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on a soft baby brush, twice a day.
Baby’s teeth continue to come in until they’re about two-and-a-half years old. Most children have all their baby teeth by the time they are three, and girls tend to have earlier dentition than boys. When your child is three, you can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Remember to model good brushing behavior, because babies mimic what they see their parents do.
Tips for Baby’s First Dental appointment with Must Love Kids
You may be wondering when it’s time to bring your baby for their very first trip to see the dentist. When they have some of their baby teeth? When they have all their baby teeth? Sooner. Bring your baby to the dentist when their first tooth emerges or by their first birthday—whichever time comes first.
Visiting the dentist early and regularly ensures healthy, happy teeth from the start. Be sure to see a board-certified pediatric dentist. Why? Pediatric dentists offer a more child-friendly environment, lowering the amount of stress, and making the experience more fun for your child.
Board-certified pediatric dentists also have completed an additional two years of education, ensuring your child’s oral health is in the best hands.
If you’re looking for a well rounded, knowledgeable pediatric dentist in Vancouver, look no further. Here at Must Love Kids we have a team of people committed to the health of your baby. Reach out and make an appointment with us. Here’s to a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles.