You’ve just welcomed a new member to your family — congratulations! Whether this is your first child or you’re already an experienced mother, adjusting to caring for your little bundle of joy can take some time. In all the wonderful chaos of looking after an infant, it can be easy to let some details, such as dental care, slip past your radar. That’s why your family dentist in Creve Coeur has put together this brief guide to oral health that will help breastfeeding moms and their little ones enjoy healthy smiles.
Care Tips for Mom
Here are some tips to keep your smile in good shape while you’re breastfeeding:
- Try to stick to good habits. You’ll be understandably tired during the first months of your baby’s life, but do your best not to let exhaustion affect your good oral hygiene habits. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth regularly are especially important if you had pregnancy gingivitis. You want your mouth to get back to 100 percent as quickly as possible!
- Communicate with your dentist. Most types of dental work and several types of medication are safe for breastfeeding moms. However, if you plan on getting any work done on your smile, be sure to let your dentist know that you’re breastfeeding.
- Be mindful of the risk of bruxism. The stress of caring for your little one could lead to bruxism (habitual, often involuntary, teeth grinding). If you find yourself grinding your teeth or you often wake up with a sore jaw, you may need to ask your dentist about getting a nightguard.
- Stay hydrated. To produce enough milk, your body needs extra water. If you don’t keep up with your H20 intake, you could end up with a dry mouth, which increases your risk of tooth decay. Try to be mindful of your thirst level and sip plenty of water throughout the day.
Caring for Baby’s Smile
Breastmilk provides rich nutrition for your little one. However, there are some things you need to be mindful of if you choose to breastfeed. For example, although breastmilk is great for your baby, it does contain sugar. Sugar is terrible for oral health because it promotes the production of plaque. Keep your baby’s gums clean by wiping them with a soft cloth every day.
Should you choose to do so, you can continue to breastfeed your child even after they develop their first teeth. However, you should also begin gently brushing their teeth to protect them from the breastmilk’s sugar (and the sugar in any juice or other treats that you may give to your little one). It’s also a wise idea to floss once teeth have erupted. Using child flossers can turn dental hygiene into a fun routine. To instill the importance of caring for your child’s teeth, start these habits early.
Your baby’s first months of life are an exciting time. Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or doing a bit of both, be sure that both you and your child maintain your oral health throughout this critical period.
About Our Practice
Dr. James Feigenbaum is a Creve Coeur native who has over 30 years of experience in his profession. He happily works alongside Dr. Jenna Feigenbaum, who was also born and raised in the area. If you would like their professional and caring dental guidance as you breastfeed your child, contact our office at 314-567-1777.