Dr. Keller’s dental health tips for during pregnancy and early childhood

  • Dr. Sue Keller at Modestow Family Dentistry in Florence. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

  • Dr. Sue Keller demonstrates the best way to brush a young child's teeth. She suggests brushing from behind using a small toothbrush to help hold the child's mouth open in coordination with a special finger brush. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

Published: 2/20/2019 11:11:10 AM
Dr. Keller’s dental health tips for during pregnancy

■If you are eating six small meals a day instead of three larger ones, increasing your brushing will decrease your risk of decay. If you can’t brush, rinse with an anti-cavity rinse, chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol or rinse with water.

■If you have morning sickness, don’t avoid brushing your teeth. Try using a bland tasting toothpaste (such as vanilla flavor) and brush your teeth more frequently for less time, or rinse with an anti-cavity rinse.

■If you have acid reflux or morning sickness with vomiting, rinse your mouth out with 8 ounces of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed together after every episode to neutralize acids. Brushing on acid can cause enamel erosion. Also, brushing after breakfast is better than upon waking.

■Your baby’s teeth begin to form during the third month of pregnancy, so eating foods that are high in minerals such as calcium will help your baby grow strong teeth and bones.

Dental tips for children

■A higher risk of cavities occurs when a baby gets used to nursing or feeding to sleep. When the teeth come in, parents are understandably reluctant to disturb/wake the baby to clean his or her teeth.

■Children are also at risk of getting cavities when they eat throughout the day without having their teeth cleaned. Frequent eating requires frequent brushing. 

■The highest risk of cavities comes with at-will feeding of sugar-filled liquids, such as chocolate milk, juices or soda. A high-carbohydrate diet combined with infrequent tooth cleaning can create a mouthful of cavities very quickly, and lead to extensive and expensive dental treatment.

■As soon as babies develop teeth, those teeth need to be brushed. It’s also a good idea to begin taking infants to the dentist around this time. Use a Xylitol infant tooth gel without fluoride. It’s even better if you can get a baby used to having his or her gums cleaned after nursing. Make it part of the routine before the gums are sore with erupting teeth.

■Brush in the highchair as part of cleaning up after meals. Stand behind your child so you are holding the brush like you do when you brush your own teeth, cup their head, and use the same motion. Use a silicone finger brush with Xylitol gel for infants and babies.

■Say ‘AHHH’ to reach the tops and insides of the back teeth. Say ‘EEEE’ to brush the front smile. Then brush the tongue to remove germs. It helps to sing a silly song.

■Use two brushes — one for the baby to use, one for you. Grown-ups should floss and brush for kids until age 12 — with at least one thorough brushing by an adult each day, preferably after dinner, for older kids.

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