Having a new baby can be one of the most chaotic times in your life. Any routines are likely to revolve around your baby rather than your own needs. Brushing your teeth may seem like a quick and easy task, but it’s amazing how easy it is to neglect this when you are caring for a little person around the clock.
But the physical changes and demands of pregnancy and early motherhood can make you vulnerable to dental problems. Neglecting your teeth during these times can open the door to cavities and tooth decay.
Pregnancy places additional demands for calcium on your body, which in turn can cause your teeth to be susceptible to calcium deprivation. And morning sickness can wreak havoc in your mouth because vomiting coats your teeth with strong gastric acids which can damage tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. We recommend rinsing your mouth with water immediately after vomiting to wash away as much gastric acid as possible, then brush your teeth about 30 minutes later. The stomach acids soften tooth enamel, so waiting half an hour before brushing gives the enamel time to recover.
It’s especially important for new mums to stay hydrated to combat the demands of broken sleep, fatigue, breast feeding and stress. In addition, dehydration can result in a dry mouth and the lack of saliva also exacerbates the risk of gum disease. Go easy on the sugary drinks too – drink plenty of water each day instead.
Keeping your mouth healthy isn’t just about you – it’s also good for your baby’s health. When your baby is eating solids it’s tempting to share utensils even inadvertently when checking the temperature of the food. However, this should always be avoided as you can potentially transfer bacteria from your mouth to your baby. And if your oral hygiene has slipped a bit there is likely to be increased bacteria in your mouth.
Stress can have a huge impact on young mums, which is why we see often an increase in teeth grinding or clenching. Stress can result in extra tension in the jaws, neck and head. A simple remedy for teeth grinding or clenching at night is a custom-made night guard which protects the teeth from being worn down and the enamel from being compromised.
So try to take some time to prioritise your oral health during those early days with a new baby. Maintaining regular brushing and flossing routines can help stop preventable problems from turning into bigger issues.