If you’re planning on starting a family, or have already begun one, there’s an important element to your child’s health that you may not know about: the oral health of the mother. There are a lot of elements of your health that can be passed to your unborn child during pregnancy, and oral health is one that not a lot of people think about.
We treat plenty of expectant mothers at Panama City Smiles, and we want to be sure that every single one is passing good oral health on to their children. If you’re an expectant mother it’s time to start not only eating for two, but brushing and flossing as well!
The Oral Health Connection Between Mother And Child
If you’ve spent much time researching your health in relation to your child you know how important things like eating well and staying active during pregnancy are. You’ve probably also read about a common problem for expectant mothers: pregnancy gingivitis.
Gum disease in pregnant women is so common that it actually has it’s own name! Pregnancy gingivitis develops in about 40 percent of expectant mothers, and when it does there are some serious health implications for your child, and those implications will affect them for their entire lives.
If you aren’t familiar with how gum disease develops you need to know so that you can prevent it. Gum disease is caused by the same oral bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay. Those bacteria are always looking for safe places to hide, and between your gums and teeth is the ideal location for them.
When oral bacteria manages to get beneath your gumline it starts causing inflammation, redness, sensitivity, and bleeding at the slightest contact with a brush or floss. It’s that bleeding that’s so serious during pregnancy.
When gum disease starts causing bleeding it creates the perfect way for oral bacteria to spread into your bloodstream. This increases your risks for a number of health conditions, and for your unborn child it serves as a way to pass harmful bacteria onto them. Your child will be born with harmful bacteria already living in their mouths, greatly increasing their chances of developing gum disease and cavities as they age.
How To Fight Gingivitis During Pregnancy
It might seem tough to fight off periodontal problems when pregnant, especially because nearly half of women develop them. The hormonal changes in your body definitely make it harder to protect your teeth, but make no mistake – you can do it, and it’s essential that you do!
For starters, you need to be sure you’re seeing us at Panama City Smiles for regular dental cleanings and exams. You’ll probably be seeing us more frequently while you’re pregnant, and with good reason – you need to be extra careful to prevent and treat problems before they become serious over the next nine months!
It’s also important for you to be diligent in your brushing and flossing. You should always be brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Never use a hard-bristled brush, and be sure that you’re paying close attention to your gumline. The best way to hold your brush is at a 45 degree angle to your tooth, which means the bristles should be pointed at your gumline.
Flossing is something you simply can’t afford to miss while you’re pregnant. It only takes oral bacteria 24 hours to start irritating your gums under normal circumstances, and when you’re pregnant it can happen even faster. By flossing nightly you’re getting rid of bacteria that’s built up between your teeth and ensuring that you don’t transmit bacteria to your child.
Don’t forget about caring for your child after they’re born, either. Oral health doesn’t start when your child gets their first tooth – it starts the first day they’re out of the womb. Studies show that children exposed to oral care from an early age are far more likely to have healthy teeth as adults, so don’t neglect to give them good care from the earliest possible moment.
Start Today To Ensure Your Child’s Health
We want every member of our patient families to be happy and healthy, and that means that expectant mothers like you need to start caring about their teeth now. If you want to give your child the gift of good oral health then don’t wait another day – schedule an appointment at Panama City Smiles today!