Keeping Up With Your Dental Health While Breastfeeding

October 9, 2019

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis -

Breastfeeding is an important activity for many new mothers, and is proven to be a great way to bond with their new child. It’s also essential to providing the nutrients your baby needs and to help them grow. Many women choose to breastfeed their child, but will understandably be a bit cautious during this period to not pass anything harmful to their child. One area that has some big misconceptions for breastfeeding mothers is their dental health. This takes the form of both how to keep up with your dental health during these busy months, as well as what sorts of procedures are safe to undergo. As a dentist with 20 years of experience, I’ve worked with a multitude of nursing women to help them answer these exact questions. Today, we’ll look at steps to preserve your dental health while you are nursing.

Keep Up With Your at Home Care

The most important thing to do is simply to keep up with your normal dental routines. Preventative measures are the first and best line of defense against unwanted oral issues. This is an easy way to protect your teeth and prevent long term issues, and only takes a few minutes a day working into even the busiest new mom’s schedule.

A good dental routine involves brushing twice a day, flossing once per day, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash once per day. It’s also important to make sure you’re doing all these correctly as many people brush and floss but do a poor job at it.

At home care is so important, and plays a huge role in your overall oral health. Stay consistent here and you’ll stop the majority of dental issues before they become a problem.

Watch Your Diet

While you’re breastfeeding, having a good diet is essential. It will not only help you replenish lost calories, but will also impact your dental health. Food plays a big role in bacterial growth in your mouth, so it’s important to watch what you eat. It’s also important to make sure you're eating enough as many of the calories you take in will pass onto your child.

The key here is to avoid empty calories like foods that are high in sugars. Things like candies, pop, and some fruit juices can be loaded with sugar and lacking in key nutrients. Sugar is also damaging to your teeth as it’s used by bacteria to grow.

You’ll want to focus on nutrient rich foods like whole grains, lean proteins, and veggies. These provide the nutrients your body needs without a lot of the harmful sugars. A good diet will also help you get rid of any of that extra pregnancy weight you might want to shed.

If you’re finding it difficult to keep a good diet, a smart move is to prep meals in your downtime. Things like hard boiled eggs or salads are good for you, and keep well over a few days. This is a great way to avoid grabbing an unhealthy snack simply because you don’t have time to prepare something better.

Listen To Your Dentist

Last, it’s important to listen to your dentist, and follow all their recommendations for care. This includes getting the procedures recommended and taking any prescribed medications.

Many women are a bit nervous doing these things while breastfeeding, as it’s well known what the mother takes in is passed to the child. In these cases though, the risk of adverse effects is very low, and there are many safe medications and prescriptions that won’t affect the child.

For procedures, many of the anesthetics used are perfectly safe for breastfeeding mothers. The medications used in them are typically out of your system quickly, before the next time you need to breastfeed. Also there are many medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding, and won’t cause harm to your baby. That said, always bring any concerns to your dentist, and let them know you’re breastfeeding. They’ll then be able to make better decisions on what is and what is not safe for you and your baby.

Keeping up with your dental health is important to keeping your overall body healthy. With a new baby, it may seem like you just don’t have enough hours in the day, but make sure you don’t neglect your dental health. Keep up with the tips above, and you’ll lead a healthier life for both you and your baby.