Proper Oral Care for You and Your Baby

Proper Oral Care for You and Your Baby

Pregnancy and welcoming a newborn baby are two of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. Along with all the plans and preparations you’re making now, don’t forget to keep up with good dental care. 

Good prenatal care includes dental care. Gum disease — also known as periodontal disease — is an ongoing bacterial infection that causes swelling. It changes the gums and bone that support the teeth.

Gum Disease and Pregnancy

Any infection during pregnancy is a concern. That includes infections of the gums. Watch for warning signs. Symptoms for gum disease include red and swollen gums. Gums may also bleed when you brush or floss. Bad breath that doesn’t go away is another sign.

Often women don’t know they have gum disease. Sometimes, there aren’t any signs  until the disease is advanced. Successful treatment of gum disease has been shown to reduce pregnancy complications.

Prevention is Good

The best way to avoid gum disease is to practice good daily oral hygiene. Use these tips to help fend off gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice each day.
  • Floss every day to remove food brushing misses.
  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods.
  • Avoid sugary snacks.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year.

Remember, a baby’s health starts in the womb. Just as it’s vital for expectant mothers to eat healthy foods, proper oral care makes a difference, too.

When to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth

Good health habits should start as soon as your baby is born. Did you know parents  and other adults can spread bacteria into a child’s mouth by simply kissing them on the lips or sharing a spoon. That can cause tooth decay. Baby teeth are fragile, so start your child’s oral health program even before their teeth come in.

Here are steps to help:

  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Clean your baby’s teeth with a cloth. Use a soft tooth brush as soon as teeth begin showing through the gums.
  • Limit sugared drinks
  • Take your baby in for a dental exam at 12 months.

Talk to your child’s dentist. Together, you can create a care plan that’s right for your child. Check your plan benefits for details about dental coverage.

For more tips on oral health and your overall health, visit our website. Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM. Look for the “Coverage” tab and then “Coverage and Benefits” and then Dental.

Sources: Good Oral Health Starts Early, leaving site icon American Academy of Pediatrics, 2022; Pregnancy and Oral Health, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022  

Originally published 7/21/2016; Revised 2021, 2023