For many moms, taking care of a new baby tends to take precedence over taking care of themselves. This is understandable, but oral health is one area that should not be neglected - both for the mother’s sake, and for the baby’s too.
Let’s be honest: when you have a new baby, a lot of things that used to be important, and that were part of your day-to-day routine - clothes, makeup, and even showering, for example - become luxuries that you just don’t have a lot of time for anymore.
This is pretty normal. Babies are a lot of work! You’re exhausted and overwhelmed, and so naturally your own needs are going to fall by the wayside for a time.
But there are certain areas of your personal care that shouldn’t be neglected, no matter how overwrought you’re feeling, and one of them is your oral health. Keeping up with your oral hygiene is more important than ever when you’re pregnant, and after your baby is born - for you and for your baby, too.
Your hormonal levels change a lot during pregnancy, and this can result in an increased risk of gum disease. In fact, inflamed gums that bleed easily is one of the most common issues dentists observe in pregnant women.
This is caused by changes in the mouth bacteria that feed on the extra hormones secreted during pregnancy.
The best ways to reduce inflamed gums during pregnancy? You guessed it: regular professional cleanings and a thorough and regular at-home oral hygiene routine.
After Your Baby is Born
Even after your pregnancy is over, it can take weeks or even months (especially if you’re breastfeeding) for your hormones to return to normal. This means your gums are still going to be extra vulnerable during this time.
Keeping bacteria at a minimum is also beneficial to your new baby, who isn’t used to living with bacteria, and whose immune system is still immature. Especially at first, if your oral health isn’t what it should be, your mouth may be rife with bacteria that could cause problems for your child.
Lastly, now that you’re a mom, you’re also a role model! As you child grows up, he or she will take your cue when it comes to oral hygiene, and how well you care for your teeth.
It will be easier for you to be a good role model when your child starts noticing these things if you have been maintaining a good oral hygiene routine throughout pregnancy and your baby’s early months and years.