Celebrating Mother’s Day turned our thoughts to all the new mums we see at Te Hiku Hauora, particularly to the health of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. With so many aspects of mums’ health affecting the health of their babies, the one thing we often forget to mention to new mothers is the importance of getting dental exams and cleaning while pregnant and in baby’s first year.
Dental care, including treatment, is safe and important during pregnancy; and practicing good home care like brushing, flossing, eating healthy, and drinking water can keep mum’s mouth healthy during and after pregnancy.
Significant changes occur in a woman’s body due to hormones in pregnancy that can contribute to dental problems. Dr. Paul Reeves, dentist at Te Hiku Hauora explains the following: “Gums quickly react to irritants by swelling and bleeding easily. Often mums don’t brush thoroughly because their gums bleed.”
Gum disease and caries (cavities) lead to several risks for the pregnancy itself such as premature birth or low birth weight. In addition, mothers can unintentionally pass cavity-causing bacteria to their newborns. Mum’s dental health influences her baby’s developing teeth either protecting the teeth or leading to tooth decay.
“Not only does good dental hygiene in pregnancy improve the mum’s chances of having a healthy baby, but it can also decrease the baby’s risk for developing dental caries in the first few years of infancy.” Says Dr. Beth Yeung, dentist at Te Hiku Hauora.
Our dentists recommend some simple habits to help protect mum’s and baby’s teeth.
- Brush regularly, at least morning and evening, preferably after meals and snacks.
- Brush on all sides of the teeth and over the tongue.
- Chew sugar free gum after each meal.
- Have floss with you and use it regularly.
- Create a regular tooth brushing plan for your infant as soon as teething begins.
- Make sure children see the dentist to find problems early.
All mums and babies have the right to a beautiful and healthy smile. The dentists at Te Hiku Hauora offer an excellent service for expectant mothers with specialized and professional advice on cleaning, exams and dental treatments. Call Te Hiku Hauora Dental Clinic on 408-2781 to book your appointment today.