Pssst... can I admit something...
I've been feeling guilty for neglecting my dental health once my third baby was born. Yes, perhaps I still brush my teeth twice a day, but other than that? Honestly, I didn't make it a priority at all. Not to mention those mid-night snacks when I felt hungry while nursing my baby at night. Can you relate?
So when Dr. Amanda Tavoularis from dentably.com approached me to offer her dental tips for breastfeeding mothers, I could not be happier. I need these tips and I believe you too as a breastfeeding mother would benefit from these oral hygiene tips.
Without further ado, let's go straight to her dental tips below.
As a new mother, there’s no doubt that you are focused on your baby’s needs at all times. Feeding, changing diapers, and comforting your little one can take a lot of time out of the day. And while spending time with your new baby is an exciting and special time, it’s easy to neglect your own needs.
However, it’s important not to forget about your dental health especially while you are nursing. As a female dentist who’s been practicing for more than 20 years, it’s my goal to educate new mothers on their dental health and how they should be taking care of their teeth while they’re breastfeeding.
1. Maintain a Healthy Oral Care Routine
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 are still at risk for gum disease, so you will need to remember to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash. Try implementing your routine in between your baby’s feeding schedule and make sure to take time for yourself to care for your mouth.
2. Make Sure to Visit the Dentist
You should also make time to schedule a dental appointment while you’re 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 that you aren’t suffering from gum disease or tooth decay. If you’re worried about your dental appointment cutting into your baby’s feeding schedule, try scheduling in between feeding times or possibly nursing your baby just before your appointment.
Also, 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.
3. Keep a Healthy Diet
Diet is perhaps one of the most important things to take into account while you’re breastfeeding because not only is it important for you and your baby, it can have serious effects on your dental health as well. 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 so you have enough energy to get through the day.
However, it’s important that you are not eating empty calories like those from soda and sugary snacks. These 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 awhile, try not to make it a habit. Instead, consume extra calories 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.
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 peckish 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.
As you spend time with your baby and enjoy this special time in your life, you are probably busy putting your baby’s needs before your own. While this is fine, it’s important that you try and take some time for yourself too. 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, dental visits, and a healthy diet will all help you have a healthy mouth.
Thank you Dr. Amanda for sharing your dental tips with us. As for myself, I need to schedule my dental visit very soon. What about you?