How to Take Care of Your Teeth During Confinement?- Dr Gwen Gan
What is confinement?
Confinement is a period after childbirth for your body to recuperate and recover from childbirth. Confinement practices aimed to help mummy to recover their health after going through pregnancy, labour, and birth.
It is a common practice in Malaysia and most mummy will follow the tradition and have their confinement according to their culture and traditions, which differ by ethnicity and even family.
I, as a Chinese, born and raised in Malaysia, undoubtedly also join the confinement practice after delivering my second daughter last week. Also, I take this as a time for me to focus on being a mom again. (Yes, I forgot after 5 years. =.=)
Is there a taboo related to teeth during confinement?
Since I am in my confinement period, I decided to find out some of the practices during confinement period.
To my horror, there is one taboo (“pantang”) among Chinese to prohibit mummy from brushing teeth during confinement!!!
NOT BRUSHING TEETH FOR A MONTH????!!!!
ARE YOU SEIOUS?
Can you imagine how much bacteria and infection you are going to get for not brushing teeth for a month? This is a big NO NO to your oral health.
What is the reason of not brushing teeth during confinement?
The Chinese believe that touching water will allow “wind” from entering the body and later on cause problems like headache or rheumatism later in life.
However, this is not scientifically proven right.
What are the consequences of neglecting oral hygiene during confinement?
In fact, if you do not brush your teeth, you are breeding bacteria inside your mouth.
It not only damages your teeth, but also damages your gum.
Damaging the teeth means you have higher chance of getting dental caries.
Damaging the gum means you have higher chance of getting mobile teeth in long run.
Not only that, being the closest person to you little precious one, you do not want to pass infection from your mouth to him/her.
What Should I Do to Keep My Teeth Healthy During Confinement?
The same basic oral health routine should be practiced throughout the confinement period.
- Brush teeth twice daily
- Use fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss once daily
- Rinse mouth after every meal
Personally, I prefer to brush teeth after every meal to ensure that my mouth is clean I do not have to worry when I am in close contact with my baby.
If you are really concerned of touching cold water during brushing, you can use a cup when brushing and make sure that the water is warm (since most of the houses have heated water now)
Also, I make sure I floss every night to prevent any food in between my teeth. Flossing is not an option; it is a must practice routine to make sure interdental areas are clean.
In between, I will rinse my mouth after drinking red dates drink. (another practice for Malaysian Chinese during confinement is to drink a lot of red dates drink)
Finally, visit your dentist after confinement or when you are ready to return to your normal social activity.
If you have any question or you have any tips for confinement, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will be glad to discuss all these with you.
Dr Gwen Gan