The 18th May marks the start of National Smile Month! We have teemed up with the British Dental Health Foundation to help create awareness of this important campaign, which aims to improve the oral health of both children and adults in the UK.
From their very first tooth and visit to the dentist, it is so important to give your child the very best experience you can. It’s a sobering thought that approximately 8/9 children in every primary school class will be suffering from tooth decay.
Thanks to the British Dental Health Foundation for the following advice on the best dental care for mums-to-be and babies. This advice, plus additional information can also be found at https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/childrens-teeth/dental-care-for-mother-and-baby.
Taking care of your own oral hygiene is important at all times, but none more so than when you’re expecting a baby. As many mothers will testify, the significant changes to the body mean taking extra care, and that includes oral health.
TEN FACTS ABOUT DENTAL CARE FOR MOTHER AND BABY
Your gums may bleed more easily during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and so frequent visits to the dentist and a high level of oral hygiene are advised.
Your baby is more likely to have poor teeth if you smoke due to the enamel not being formed correctly.
Good nutrition from the mother during pregnancy is important in order for baby’s teeth to develop.
Adult teeth are developing in the jaws below baby teeth at birth.
Expect teething to begin around six months and last until all 20 baby teeth arrive at around 2 and a half.
Signs of teething include swollen or red gums where the tooth is coming through, the cheek on the side of the mouth where the tooth is appearing may be red and disrupted sleeping pattern for both parents and baby.
Poor oral health during pregnancy increases the chances of premature birth and low birth weight babies.
Dental treatment is perfectly safe during pregnancy, but do inform your dentist.
There is no truth in the rumour about calcium deficiency due to pregnancy causes tooth problems.
You are entitled to free NHS dental treatment, including check-ups and prescriptions, if you are pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months.
FIVE TIPS FOR MOTHER AND BABY DENTAL CARE
In addition to following the British Dental Health Foundation’s three key rules for good oral health, the following tips are recommended for mother and baby:
If you are sick through morning sickness, rinse your mouth out with water to prevent the acid in the vomit attacking your teeth and causing enamel erosion.
Introduce your baby to the sights and sounds of the dental practice at an early age to allay any dental phobia that might develop, take them with you when you go for a check-up.
Wean your baby off the bottle early to avoid them developing dental problems.
As soon as your baby begins teething you should start cleaning their teeth with a 1000ppm fluoride toothpaste.
Avoid using a dummy and discourage baby from sucking their thumb as both can cause oral developmental problems.
For free, confidential and impartial advice about how to improve you or your baby’s oral health, contact the British Dental Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, the charity has more information about how to care for babies teeth. Visit Tell Me About: Dental Care for Mother and Baby.