Prenatal Oral Health Care Directly Affects the Child’s Oral Health
What’s the bottom line?
Prenatal Oral Health Care, or taking good care of your teeth while pregnant, actually decreases the risk of your child having baby teeth cavities. We apologize in advance to all the expecting mothers reading this now as it gives you one more thing to worry about: Future Bean’s oral health started yesterday. But it isn’t too late!
Tell me about this study about Prenatal Oral Health Care:
Glad you asked. Investigators systematically reviewed the scientific evidence related to prenatal oral health care and early childhood caries (cavities). Specifically for this study, prenatal health care for the pregnant mother included routine dental cleanings, fluoride supplements, oral health education, referrals for treatment if needed, and xylitol chewing gum. The results show a lower incidence of early childhood caries in children whose mothers received prenatal oral heath care.
When pregnant, maintaining your oral health and improving your oral health knowledge is vital for baby Bean; you affect his or her risk for cavities as a youngster. We recommend scheduling your cleanings ideally in your first and third trimesters. We understand insurances may only cover your cleaning every 6 months, but insurance isn’t always looking out for you and baby’s best interest—maybe ask if there’s a pregnancy special. Remind your dentist of their future patient – your baby. Increase your exposure to xylitol. It’s a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener, and research proves eating or chewing it helps promote better oral health. Look for xylitol in gum, lollipops, and toothpastes. It may increase gas– but so does pregnancy– so really just a normal day. Oh, and you know one more x-word: X-Rays. Yes, they are safe when a lead apron is used and when x-rays are prescribed by your dentist. And yes, they may be an important part of Perinatal Oral Health Care and preventing major dental infections during pregnancy.
Straight from our AAPD guidelines: dental care for pregnant mothers provides an excellent teachable moment to educate in the following:
- Comprehensive oral exams, cleanings, and treatment during pregnancy (invasive treatment best in the 2nd trimester)
- Proper oral hygiene instructions such as fluoride toothpaste, xylitol exposure, and diet recommendations
- Breast-feeding through one year old, knowing the transfer of drugs and therapeutics through breast milk, especially when under 6 months old