Congratulations on Your Bundle of Joy!

If you’re expecting, you’re taking all the right steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. With a proper diet, exercise plan and prenatal care from your doctor, you’re helping your body adapt to the many changes you’re experiencing. And now you’re taking it one step further by focusing on your dental health.

■  Behaviors that support good oral health:
● Brushing teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste, especially before bedtime, and flossing daily.
● Taking prenatal vitamins, including folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, and eating foods high in protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A, C and D.
● Visit your dentist – You wouldn’t let your kids miss a dentist appointment, so why should you? If you’re pregnant, it’s important to continue with regular dental exams.
● Limiting foods containing fermentable carbohydrates — sugars (including fruit sugars), cookies, crackers, chips — to mealtimes only. Frequent between-meal consumption of these foods increases your risk for decay.
● Limiting drinking juice, soda, sports drinks or carbonated drinks (including diet soda) between meals. These drinks contain sugar that can cause caries. Even diet sodas contain acids that can weaken the enamel of teeth, especially those containing caffeine and citric acid.

■  Advice to pregnant women experiencing frequent nausea and vomiting:
● Eating small amounts of nutritious yet noncariogenic foods — snacks rich in protein, such as cheese, hard-boiled egg, nuts, pumpkin seeds, cottage cheese — throughout the day.
● Using a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in a cup of water to rinse and spit after vomiting, avoiding tooth brushing directly after vomiting as the effect of erosion can be exacerbated by brushing an already demineralized tooth surface.
● Using gentle tooth brushing and fluoride toothpaste twice daily to prevent damage to demineralized tooth surfaces.

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