Before the First Tooth
Improving Oral Health Care of Pregnant Women and Infants Statewide
By: Julie Carvelli, BA
Program Coordinator, From the First Tooth
Did you know that it is both safe and important for pregnant women to receive oral health care during pregnancy? There are physical changes during pregnancy that can put gums and teeth at risk. The Before the First Tooth Initiative works with medical providers, dentists, and community organizations to help pregnant women and infants achieve better oral health. Before the First Tooth encourages general practitioners and OB/GYN doctors to provide pregnant patients an oral health risk assessment to determine if a patient needs routine care, early, or immediate care, and refer them to a dentist if they do not yet have one.
Mom’s oral health
Here are some tips to oral health care during pregnancy:
- Brush and floss regularly
- Eat snacks that are low in sugar
- If you vomit during morning sickness, don’t brush your teeth right away. It will rub the acid into the teeth. Instead rinse your mouth with a baking soda and water mixture or just water
- Go to your routine dentist appointments
Your Infant’s oral health
Community organizations and medical doctors are teaching caregivers what steps can be taken to care for an infant’s mouth and teeth. Here are some things you can do to care for your infant’s oral health.
- Wipe the infant’s mouth out with a cloth at morning and at night
- Do not share spoons with your infant, as bacteria can be transmitted that way
- If your child goes to bed with a bottle be sure that it is only filled with water, since other liquids may pool around the teeth overnight and cause decay
- Bring your infant to the dentist by age one - baby teeth matter. How you take care of your infant’s mouth and teeth will impact their oral health later on in life.
Oral health is a part of total health. The Before the First Tooth initiative focuses on providing tips and guidelines on maintaining good oral health to pregnant moms and caregivers of infants. If you have any questions, please email Julie Carvelli.
The health educators at the Learning Resource Center are happy to help. They provide trusted & reliable health information and connect people to local resources in the community. Connect with a health educator today! Be well, be well informed.