Oral Health and You

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Dental Care During Pregnancy

Many people don't realize how important oral health is, and it is important to start taking care of your teeth early in life. Even when a woman is pregnant, she can help her unborn baby by visiting a dentist and taking care of her own teeth.

Changes to your body when you are pregnant can make your gums sore, puffy, and red if you do not brush and floss every day. Gum disease can cause tooth loss. Dental infections while you are pregnant can affect your health and that of your baby.

Women with severe periodontal disease were found to have seven times the risk of giving birth early. They also had seven times the risk of having a baby with a low birth weight.

Some quick tips to remember if you are pregnant:

  • Brush teeth with soft toothbrush with fluoride twice a day.
  • Floss once a day before bedtime.
  • If you cannot brush your teeth because you fell sick, rinse yourmouth with fluoride rinse.
  • If you vomit, rinse your mouth everal times with water.

Dental Care During Infancy

After your baby is born and through the toddler years, it is important to develop a habit of taking care of their oral health. Even though they don’t yet have teeth, you can still keep their gums and mouth clean and healthy by following these easy directions:

  • Before teeth erupt, clean baby’s mouth and gums with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush at bath time.
  • Once teeth erupt, brush them gently with a soft child’s size toothbrush and a “pea size” of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
  • At bedtime, give children nothing but water. No sugary liquids or carbs (milk, formula & fruit juice) expose teeth to bacterial acid all night long.
  • Take your child to see a dentist by his or her first birthday.

Dental Care for Children

As your child reaches school age you will want to develop a habit of visiting the dentist every

six months for preventive checkups. You may also want to consider having sealants placed on your child’s permanent teeth. Sealants will help to prevent tooth decay and the price is less than 1/3 the cost of filling a cavity.

Impact of Tooth Decay

  • Tooth decay is largely preventable, but it remains one of the most common diseases of childhood—five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.
  • We are reaching epidemic proportions as a nation for rapid tooth decay especially in younger children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • We know childhood tooth decay is a serious problem that can result in severe pain, infection and tooth loss even in toddlers
  • A national survey found that roughly 1 in 7 children ages 6-12 had suffered a toothache in the previous six months.
  • Children with poor oral health were nearly 3 times more likely to miss school due to dental pain.


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