Any woman who has been pregnant can attest to the fact that you can’t know everything - like just how much your mouth will go through when you are pregnant.
Luckily, Pretoria-based dentist, Dr Yolanda Gous, has some advice for both mom and her new baby.
In addition to the fact that what mom eats also affects her baby, pregnancy often makes some women’s teeth more sensitive to what they eat and drink. Dr. Gous cautions moms to watch their sugar and carbohydrate intake, as that may lead to tooth decay. She also adds a baby’s primary teeth begin forming at 6 weeks in the womb, and they later start mineralizing at 3 - 4 months of pregnancy. Moms should therefore consult their GP’s or gynaecologists with regards to the foods, supplements and nutrients they need.
Morning sickness and stomach acid can also affect a mom’s oral health. Dr Gous advises using bland-tasting toothpaste and rinsing with water or alcohol free mouthwash to avoid nausea.
New moms also know how complicated breast-feeding can be, especially as their babies get older. There are a lot of considerations to make; from the first feed right after your baby is born until the day you decide to stop breastfeeding all together.
One person who can attest to this is stylist and influencer, Tshepi Vundla, who recently became a new mom to a little boy she affectionately refers to as SLB. Her son with rapper and producer, JR Bogopa, recently turned 6-months- old and his little teeth have just started to show - which affects Tshepi’s feeding plan for him.
Siba’s 4th tooth is about to come out 💃🏽— Tshepi Vundla (@TshepiVundla) April 15, 2018
This means she will also have to consider his dental health early on to ensure he grows up to have a smile as beautiful as his parents’ smiles.
Your teeth Tshepi 👏💯😍😍😍💜— Karabo Thato Mantse (@no_digidy) March 9, 2018
Yooo..u got beautiful teeth..— mosetsanagape (@mo_esha8) March 7, 2018
Breastfeeding offers your baby more than just nutrition through breast milk. It also allows your baby to exercise their oral muscles and provides increased blood flow to the jaw. This, in turn, aids the growth of the jaw and skull, which are the fastest growing part of baby’s body during the first 6 months of their life.
Another way Tshepi can help ensure SLB’s dental health, is by picking the right soothers and bottles for him. Research shows that 12% of adults still suck their thumbs and have carried this habit over from childhood.
However, it is important to note that fingers, thumbs, bottles, and other objects used instead of soothers may cause deformations such as open bites, overbites, bruxism (clenching), mouth breathing, lip biting and more. Additionally, using the teat of a bottle as a dummy can cause tooth decay as the liquid in the bottle is often sweet. Even if it is just milk, milk often contains lactose (which is a form of sugar).
The breast is the first best possible option, but it is not always possible to breastfeed your baby as and when they need it – nor can you do it for a prolonged period of time. Luckily, there are alternatives, such as NUK’s range of soothers which were designed based on the shape of the breast to provide soothing that is still good for your baby.
Developed by orthodontists, NUK has been in this business for more than 60 years. They have always sought to correct the damage that may be caused by alternative soothing methods that are not designed by orthodontists to be orthodontically correct.
The brand also has a range of products that support moms in their breastfeeding journey such as nipple shields (which are very important in those first few months), bottles and pacifiers with specially shaped teats for baby at every stage of their growth
Moms (and the friends and family that wish to gift them with bottles) should also pay very close attention to bottles that claim to have slow, medium or fast flows as breasts do not have flow rates. Rather choose bottles with a teat that is designed for different types of liquids (breastmilk, formula, or thicker feeds). These ensure that baby still exercises the oral muscles as they would on the breast.
Main image credit: instagram.com/tshepivundla