Oral Health for Moms (to be) and Babies

In this episode, Dr. Margreet Barnardt is joined by Dr. Farah Seedat, a highly qualified Paediatric Dentist, and Naseema Osman, an oral hygienist and mom of two. Naseema’s personal experience with airway struggles has fueled her passion for educating families about the link between oral health and overall well-being.

Dr. Seedat and Naseema join Dr. Margreet for a comprehensive discussion on all things oral health, from pregnancy through to childhood. They delve into how pregnancy affects a woman’s mouth, explore the essentials of baby oral care, and address common oral health problems seen in young children. But most importantly, they share preventative tips and tricks to help parents ensure their little ones develop healthy, beautiful smiles.

Key Discussion Points 

Pregnancy and Oral Health

  • Pregnancy hormones can increase a woman’s risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Frequent vomiting during pregnancy can erode teeth.
  • Regular dental checkups are important during pregnancy to identify and address any potential oral health problems.
  • It is safe to get X-rays during pregnancy if necessary.
  • Calcium is drawn from the mother’s bones to develop the fetus, not from the teeth.

Oral Health for Babies

  • It is important to start cleaning a baby’s mouth from birth, even before teeth erupt.
  • Use a soft cloth or gauze to wipe the baby’s mouth after feeding.
  • Once teeth erupt, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Avoid prolonged pacifier use (no more than 2 years) to prevent negative growth alterations.
  • Watch for signs of mouth breathing and address them early.
  • Limit sugary drinks and processed foods in a child’s diet.
  • Bottle feeding can lead to tooth decay if milk pools around the front teeth.
  • Breastfeeding past infancy can increase tooth decay risk; wipe the baby’s mouth after breastfeeding to remove residual milk.

General Tips

  • Parents should seek advice from dental professionals, not friends or family, regarding their child’s oral health.
  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing are essential for preventing tooth decay.
  • Parents should brush their young child’s teeth until they are old enough to do a good job on their own.
  • The back baby teeth are important and need good care because they last until age 10-12.
  • The first dental visit for a baby should be by the first birthday. It should be a positive experience to prevent fear of the dentist.