Proper Oral Care for You and Your Baby

It is never too early or too late to practice good mouth care. Pregnancy and welcoming a new born baby are two of the most exciting times in your life. It is also a time to focus on your dental care as an expectant mother and to start care before your baby is born.

Pregnancy and Gum Disease
Dental care is part of a mother’s prenatal care. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic bacterial infection that causes swelling that alters the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Any infection during pregnancy, including infections of the mouth and gums, are cause for worry.

Many people do not know that they even have gum disease. Often there are no signs until the disease is advanced. Since successful treatment of gum disease has been shown to reduce complications of pregnancy, it is important to understand warning signs. Those include red and swollen gums, bleeding gums while brushing or flossing, and lasting bad breath.

Your baby’s health starts in the womb. Just as it is important for expectant mothers to eat healthy foods, you should also care for your teeth and gums.

When to Start Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth
Once your baby is born, good health habits with your child should start right away. Parents can transfer decay-causing bacteria into the child’s mouth by simply kissing them on the lips or sharing a spoon. Baby teeth are important, so start your child’s oral health program before the first tooth comes in.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Wipe your baby’s teeth with a wash cloth or brush with a tooth brush as soon as teeth begin showing through the gums
  • Use a soft bristled tooth brush by the time your baby’s back teeth begin showing
  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle
  • Give your baby sugared drinks or juices sparingly
  • Have a dental exam by your baby’s first birthday

Talk to your dentist about the risks of gum disease. You and your dentist can work out what is right for your child. Check your plan benefits for coverage facts.

Research suggests a possible link between gum disease and health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
For more tips on the link between oral health and your overall health, visit our website. Log in to Blue Access® for Members , click on the “My Coverage” tab and then “Dental” to visit the Dental Wellness Center.

Remember Prevention is Easier

Good daily care of your mouth can help manage or even prevent gum disease. Try these tips:

  • Brush your teeth. Aim for two or more times each day.
  • Don’t forget to floss. Every day!
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Avoid sugar-filled snacks
  • Keep your regular dentist appointments. Two times each year is a good goal.

Make your dental appointment today!

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics


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