When you have a baby and begin transitioning into motherhood, it’s one of the biggest changes in your life. Most of your time will be focused on your baby’s needs. Feeding, changing diapers, and comforting your little one can take a lot of time out of the day. While spending time with your new baby is an exciting and special time for the both of you, it can be easy to neglect your own needs. It’s especially important not to forget about your dental health while nursing. As a female dentist who’s been practicing for more than 20 years, it’s my goal to talk to new mothers on their dental health. I try to educate them on how they should be taking care of their teeth while they’re breastfeeding. Here are some of my top oral care tips for you to implement as you continue on your motherhood journey.
1. Pay Special Attention to Your Diet
Your diet while breastfeeding is perhaps the most important thing to take into account. Not only is it important for you and your baby, but it can also have serious effects on your dental health. While breastfeeding, you will need to eat a surplus of calories to be able to pass enough nutrients onto your baby. Plus, nursing burns a lot of calories so you will need to make sure you are eating enough. This is important for you to have enough energy to get through the day.
It’s also important that you are not eating empty calories from soda and sugary snacks. These types of treats will put you at a higher risk for tooth decay. While it’s okay to enjoy a soda or sugary snack every once and a while, try not to make it a habit. Instead, consume the extra energy you need from snacks such as peanut butter, cheese, apples, crackers, and other foods that are high in nutrients. You will want to be sure you are getting enough protein and vitamins into your body while you are breastfeeding.
Another big part of your overall diet is staying hydrated. Be sure to be drinking plenty of water so you stay hydrated and healthy for you and your baby.
Finally, try to prep some of these snacks ahead of time in plastic containers, or whatever is best for you. That way, if you are feeling extra hungry you can quickly grab them out of the fridge and start eating. Grab and go snacks are a great way to keep you energized without having to disrupt your baby’s feeding schedule.
2. Your Oral Care Routine Shouldn’t Take a Backseat
While you’re nursing and busy with your new little one it’s important that you continue an effective dental care routine. After giving birth, you may still be at risk for gum disease and tooth decay. It’s important that brush twice a day, floss once a day, and rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash. This is the best way to prevent any dental issues. The best way to continue your routine is by completing it in between your baby’s feeding schedule. It’s important to take time for yourself to care for your mouth.
3. Schedule a Dental Visit While You Are Still Nursing
Finally, you should try to take the time to schedule a dental appointment while you are still nursing. Your dentist will be able to provide you with a deep cleaning of your teeth. This in addition to a dental health exam will help to ensure that you aren’t suffering from gum disease or tooth decay. Some women are worried that a dental appointment will cut into your baby’s feeding schedule. Try scheduling your appointment in between feeding times and nursing your baby just before your appointment. If you do need to breastfeed during your appointment, ask your dentist if there is a space for you to do so. Most dentists are accommodating to new mothers and their needs so don’t be afraid to ask. They will want to make sure you are comfortable and relaxed during your appointment.
Your Healthy Mouth Keeps Your Baby Health Too!
Many mothers often feel concerned if they learn they need to have a dental procedure, but you don’t have to be. If your dentist tells you that you need to have a cavity filling or wisdom tooth surgery, you don’t have to worry about it interfering with breastfeeding. Luckily, many medications are compatible with breastfeeding and by the time you feed there will not be any medication passed on to your little one.
As a new mother, there’s no doubt that you will constantly have to put your baby’s needs before your own. While this is fine, it is also important that you try and take some time for yourself, too, as your health depends on it. One thing that often gets neglected when mothers start breastfeeding and taking care of their newborns, is dental care. Dental care is extremely important to your overall health so you should try your best to schedule time in your day to care for your teeth. A good dental care routine, regular dental visits, and a healthy diet will all help you have a healthy mouth.
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