Pregnancy and Your Oral Health

I have an assistant who is pregnant, so I thought it is timely to discuss the ins and outs of being pregnant while promoting your oral health.

During pregnancy

* Brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss once a day.
* Limit foods containing sugar to mealtimes only.
* Drink water or low-fat milk. Avoid carbonated beverages (pop or soda).
* Choose fruit rather than fruit juice to meet the recommended daily intake of fruit.
* Obtain necessary oral treatment before delivery.
* Diagnosis and necessary treatment can be provided throughout pregnancy, but the
period between the 14th and the 20th week is the best time to receive treatment.
* Treatment for conditions requiring immediate attention are safe during the 1st
trimester. Delaying necessary treatment could result in significant risk to you, and
indirectly to your baby.
* For frequent nausea and vomiting:
* Eat small amounts of nutritious foods throughout the day, if possible.
* Chew sugarless or xylitol-containing gum after meals.
* Rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water after vomiting, to
neutralize acid.
* Gently brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day to prevent damage to demin-
eralized tooth surfaces.

Postpartum
For the Mother

* Maintain good oral health.
* Limit foods containing sugar to mealtimes only.
* Avoid saliva-sharing behavior, including:
* Sharing spoons or other utensils.
* Cleaning a dropped pacifier or toy by putting it in your mouth.

For the Infant

*After the first tooth erupts, wipe your baby’s teeth after feeding with a soft cloth or soft-
bristled toothbrush.
* Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than
water.
* Ask your baby’s health professional about your baby’s oral health status.
* Schedule your baby’s 1st dental visit for between ages 6 and 12 months.