Bringing a new life into this world is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, and breastfeeding is a beautiful way to bond with your baby while also giving them essential nutrients to grow big and strong.
There are probably a hundred different things that you’re thinking about as you adjust to life with a newborn. Friends and family members might even be showering you with advice that can leave you overwhelmed.
However, one thing that may be getting overlooked while you’re nursing is your dental health.
During this time, it’s essential for both you and your baby that you continue to take care of your oral health. I have been helping nursing mothers for more than 20 years to keep up with their dental routine so they can be as healthy as possible.
Here are some tips that I often share with new mothers as they begin their life with a newborn baby.
Make Sure to Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet
When you give birth and start nursing, you will be burning excess calories. It’s important that you make an effort to consume some extra food each day so that you have enough energy and are able to pass along those essential nutrients to your baby. However, you have to be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. It’s important that you choose foods that won’t damage your oral health or stall your pregnancy weight-loss.
It’s best to try and stay away from empty calories such as sugary foods and drinks. While these are okay to have every once and awhile, making it a habit will put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Instead of snacking on foods high in sugar, some good snacks to sneak in those extra calories throughout your day include fruits, vegetables, and sources of protein.
Try prepping some of your favorite snacks ahead of time. Some of my favorites include hard boiled eggs, or apples and peanut butter, but be sure that you choose something that you like. Preparing snacks ahead of time will make it easy for you to grab them whenever you’re feeling hungry.
Don’t Change Your Dental Care Routine
It’s also important to keep up on an effective dental care routine at home. It’s easy for your routine to take a backseat while you’re busy adjusting to life with a newborn, however, this is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. A good dental care routine consists of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
While you may be busy with your new little one, you still need to find a time during the day to take care of your mouth. It’s important to make time for yourself even when you’re busy with your newborn and it’s the best way to take preventative measures against oral issues for your health and your baby’s health.
Don’t Reschedule Your Regular Dental Visits
Finally, you should be sure to keep your regularly scheduled dental appointment and cleaning. In fact, if you can, try to schedule a dental appointment while you are still nursing. Your dentist will be able to give you a deep cleaning of your teeth as well as give you an exam to make sure you aren’t suffering from gum disease or tooth decay.
Also, if you’re worried about your dental appointment cutting into your baby’s feeding schedule, try scheduling 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.
Many new mothers 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, nitrogen oxide and other common dental sedatives are compatible with breastfeeding and by the time you feed there will not be any medication passed on to your little one. Be sure to let your dentist know of any other prescription and over-the-counter drugs you’re taking so that they can help you choose the best treatment plan.
It is so exciting being a new mother and you should enjoy adjusting to life with a newborn. As you adjust and learn your baby’s feeding schedule, it’s easy to overlook your dental health. However, it’s important that you try and stay as healthy as possible while you’re nursing for both you and your child.
Remember to eat a well-balanced diet, continue a dental care routine, and don’t forget to visit your dentist. Taking time for yourself is extremely important to both you and your baby’s health, so try and make some time even if you are busy. You have a crazy and beautiful journey ahead of you and you’ll want to do your part to be a healthy and happy mother.
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and has gone on to complete over 200 hours of study at the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle. She belongs to numerous dentistry networks include the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. With being a female dentist on the Dentably team, Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.