A pregnant woman’s oral health can impact her unborn baby’s oral health status.
Scientific evidence shows that the risks of dental care during pregnancy are far outweighed by the benefits.
The Perinatal Oral Health Practice Guidelines highlight these interesting facts:
- Controlling oral diseases in pregnant women potentially can reduce the transmission of oral bacteria from moms to babies.
- Best practice suggests that periodontal care during pregnancy is beneficial because it is safe and effective in reducing periodontal disease and periodontal pathogens.
Expectant mothers can promote good oral health the following ways:
- Brush teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste, especially before bedtime.
- Floss daily.
- Take prenatal vitamins, including folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects such as cleft lip and palate.
- Eat foods that are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C and D.
- Chew gum or mints that contain xylitol after meals if you are unable to brush.
Once the baby is born, moms can pass decay-causing bacteria to their children through saliva.
A 2008 study published in Pediatric Dentistry states: “strong evidence demonstrated that mothers are a primary source of MS [mutans streptococci] colonization of their children; a few investigations showed other potential sources … notably fathers.”
Just as people can spread cold germs among each other, the bacteria that leads to tooth decay can be passed along during infancy – particularly when a baby’s teeth are erupting. That’s when the teeth are most vulnerable, according to NBC News.
Parents can unwittingly pass harmful bacteria to their babies the following ways:
- Kissing the baby on the mouth.
- Sharing an eating utensil when tasting baby food.
- Cleaning a dropped pacifier, teething ring or bottle nipple by mouth.
- Wiping the baby’s mouth with a saliva-moistened cloth.
Please call us if you would like more information on how to promote good oral health for your baby.