Taking care of your new baby can often takes precedence over taking care of yourself. While this is understandable, oral health is one area that new moms must not neglect - both for their own sake, and that of the baby.
There's no two ways about it: when you have a new baby, many of the things that you used to consider important parts of your daily routine - clothes, makeup, and even showering, for example - become mere memories of a luxurious past that you just don’t have time for anymore.
Being exhausted and overwhelmed is to be expected, especially at first. Babies are a lot of work! It's natural that some of your less urgent needs are going to fall by the wayside for a time.
Be that as it may, there's one area that must not be neglected: your oral health.
Keeping up with your oral hygiene is even more important than before when you’re pregnant and after your baby is born - for you and for your baby, too.
When you're pregnant, your hormonal levels will fluctuate, and these fluctuations can increase the risk of gum disease. Inflamed gums that bleed easily are caused by changes in the mouth bacteria that feed on the extra hormones secreted during pregnancy.
What's the best way to reduce gum inflammation during pregnancy? You guessed it! Regular professional with your dentist or hygienist, and a thorough and consistent at-home oral hygiene routine.
After Your Baby is Born
It can take weeks, sometimes even months (especially for mothers who breastfeed) for hormones to return to normal after birth. This means your gums are still going to be extra vulnerable during this time.
Keeping mouth bacteria at a minimum is also helps keep your new baby safe. Newborns aren't used to living with bacteria, and their immune systems are still immature. If your oral health isn’t what it should be, your mouth could be rife with bacteria that could may problems for your child.
It's also important to keep in mind that, now that you’re a mom, you’re also a role model! As your child grows up, he or she will take cues from you when it comes to oral hygiene habits.
It will be easier for you to model good oral hygiene when your child starts noticing these things if you have been maintaining your routine throughout pregnancy, and your baby’s early months and years.