prenatal dental care

prenatal dental careMaryville, Alcoa and Knoxville TN

When a woman is pregnant, she is already overwhelmed with the many doctor visits, baby showers, and preparing the home for the arrival of her new little bundle of joy. Many moms-to-be may not realize how essential their own oral care can be for their unborn baby, or just as important, the oral care of their infant once baby enters the world. Your general dentist in Maryville Dr. Ben Sentell wants to share with you how to care for your teeth during pregnancy, and tips on caring for your infant’s oral health as well.

Oral Care while Pregnant

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all pregnant women receive routine dental checkups and cleanings, as well as adhere to the recommendation of brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing daily. These efforts remove harmful bacteria from the mouth that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. If not removed, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cross through the placenta, causing an increased risk of preterm birth or low birth weight for the baby.

In addition to oral care, be sure that you consume a healthy diet that is low in sugar, and full of fruits and veggies, as well as lean meats and dairy. Not only are these foods healthy for your body and baby’s, but it is also good for your teeth! These foods contain the vitamins and nutrients needed for strong dental enamel and healthy gums.

Oral Care for Baby

Even before your baby develops his or her first tooth, oral hygiene habits should begin. After each feeding, use a soft, moist, warm cloth to gently clean your baby’s gums. This removes any residual sugars left over from their formula or breast milk. As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, it’s time to start brushing! Babies get their teeth at different ages, starting as early as a few months of age and as late as almost one year old. Either way, your child also should have his or her first dental visit by the time their first tooth erupts or their first birthday.

Avoiding baby bottle tooth decay

Ever heard of baby bottle tooth decay? It happens as a result of allowing your baby to go to bed with a bottle of formula or juice. This is a bad habit to start, even though it might allow you some extra sleep at night, it is jeopardizing your child’s oral health. Allowing your baby to have a bottle all through the night means they are constantly bathing their teeth in sugar, which only leads to tooth decay. Opt to fill their bottle with water instead, or replace their need with extra snuggles or a favorite stuff animal or lovey.

The problem with sippy cups

Sippy cups are marketed to parents as the next step up from a bottle, and they allow a child to transition into drinking out of a regular open cup. But, there is a problem with the prolonged use of sippy cups is that they lead to crooked teeth, and a narrow upper palate, which leads to a host of other health problems down the road. Sippy cups should only be used up to age one, and transition your child to a regular cup after that.

Dentist in Maryville

As you can see, there are many important factors that can affect the oral health of you and your baby. If you would like to learn more about this topic or to schedule a visit with us, please contact Cedar Street Family Dentistry by calling (865) 233-7640. We welcome patients of Alcoa, Knoxville, and Maryville, Tennessee.