Will you provide a good start for your baby’s healthy teeth?
It’s said that children are the future…and their oral health-care habits will impact tooth health when an adult.
But, it all starts with mom.
Teeth begin to form during the second month of pregnancy and harden between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. So mom’s balanced diet is crucial for healthy teeth in her unborn child. This means adequate amounts of vitamins A, C and D, calcium, phosphorous and protein. With less than adequate amounts of these, poorly-formed tooth enamel can result in cavities once the baby teeth erupt. All twenty baby teeth are present in the jawbone when baby is born. A mother’s decay-causing bacteria can be transmitted to baby…so its critical to have maternal teeth free from tooth decay before the birth.
When mom is pregnant, she may feel the desire to snack more frequently between meals. While this is normal, frequent snacking can be an invitation for tooth decay. When plaque (that sticky layer containing harmful bacteria) constantly forms on the teeth, the bacteria converts sugar that remains in the mouth to an acid that attacks the tooth enamel. Brushing twice and day AND after snacking can help keep mom’s bacteria level down, which in turn gives the baby the best chance for healthy teeth.
While it’s quite possible for children to reach adulthood without ever experiencing tooth decay, cavities in children still remains the most common chronic childhood disease that won’t resolve without treatment. In fact, it’s five times more prevalent than asthma.
Poor periodontal health in mom can cause premature delivery and/or low birth-weight babies, sometimes even making survival of the baby an issue.
Moms should see a dentist regularly while pregnant; it may be necessary to get more frequent cleanings during the second and third trimesters.
Healthy teeth really do start with mom.
Excerpted from “Your Child’s Teeth – Helpful Tips for Parents and Caregivers” by the American Dental Association