Smiling for Two: How Your Oral Health Affects Your Unborn Baby

FamilyPregnancy

  • Author Zach Kingsberg
  • Published October 13, 2022
  • Word count 467

Bringing a child into the world requires a crazy amount of sacrifice from a mother. Her body undergoes uncomfortable changes: feet swelling, weight gain, nausea, sensitivity to certain tastes and smells, just to name a few. She is in charge of creating a safe, healthy environment for her baby to grow until they are ready to make their entrance. When taking this responsibility seriously, many think of eating healthy foods and staying moderately active, as your doctor permits.

However, there’s one common area that many expectant mothers don’t think much about—their mouth. Did you know that your oral health can impact your baby’s well-being? How you take care of your smile can have consequences for your little one!

During Pregnancy

Your body goes through so much during pregnancy, and it can feel overwhelming to deal with all the changes. Unfortunately, gingivitis occurs more often in pregnant women because of hormonal swings. In addition, pregnancy often comes with several unhealthy habits, such as frequent snacking, morning sickness, and lax oral care, that can put your smile and your baby at risk.

Some research indicates the harmful bacteria found in pregnant women with uncontrolled gum disease can travel through the bloodstream into the uterus and stimulate the production of a chemical that induces preterm labor. As a result, it is imperative to do everything possible to avoid this infection and protect your unborn child.

After Birth

You may think that as soon as your baby is born that your oral health no longer matters, but it still does! Especially if you are nursing or pumping breast milk, your baby very much depends on you and your body for support. Plus, who doesn’t love kissing their sweet newborn? Bacteria can still pass from you to your infant, introducing inflammation-causing acids to their tiny mouth. That’s why you need to maintain good oral health even after the baby arrives.

As your child grows, they will learn certain habits from you for better or worse. If they see you practicing healthy habits, they are more likely to implement them in a daily routine as well.

Daily Tips for Keeping Your Mouth Healthy During Pregnancy

Although oral health problems are common in pregnant women, there are things you can do on a daily basis to fight off decay and infection:

• Brush your teeth twice every day

• Floss at least once every day

• Drink plenty of water

• Try to limit sugar intake

• Visit your dentist for a checkup on schedule

Take-Home Message

You can’t wait to see your little one smile, and by taking care of your own smile, you can feel more confident that your baby will be safe and healthy. Do your best to implement these useful tips to protect smiles for both of you!

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