Did you know that the health and development of your children’s teeth begins in pregnancy? It’s true – changes your body experiences during pregnancy can have an impact on your child’s teeth, and their health.
Tooth development begins in the womb at around six weeks – this is when the basic substance of the teeth begins to form. Further development continues between the third and sixth months of pregnancy, and during these months, eating a healthy diet is as important as ever.
“It’s important to pay close attention to taking in the proper nutrients while pregnant,” says pediatric dentist Dr. Nanna Ariaban.
“Vitamins A, C, and D, as well as protein, calcium and phosphorous are critical to the healthy formation of your baby’s teeth. Making smart food choices while you’re pregnant can help prevent tooth decay in your children.”
Calcium creates strong bones and teeth, among other benefits, and can be found in foods such as yogurt, milk, cheese, and dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A helps bones and teeth grow and can be found in foods such as milk, eggs, liver, spinach, carrots and broccoli. Vitamin D helps the body properly use calcium to promote strong bones and teeth and can be found in milk, fatty fish and by being exposed to the sun. Vitamin C helps your baby build strong bones and teeth and can be found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries.
But it’s not just the food you eat while pregnant. It’s also important to maintain an excellent oral care routine.
Proper brushing and flossing is critical, as it is estimated that the children of women with untreated tooth decay are four times more at risk for developing tooth decay.
“Women should be sure to maintain regular visits with their dentists while pregnant,” says Dr. Nanna. “It’s also recommended to visit a dentist prior to becoming pregnant. That way, we can treat any issues we find before pregnancy, giving you the best chance at ensuring your baby’s healthy teeth.”
Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, is a common occurrence during pregnancy. However, it shouldn’t be left untreated. If it worsens, it can become a more serious form of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight babies.
The hormones in the body during pregnancy can cause changes in your mouth that may affect your baby. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, and the healthy development of your child’s teeth, take extra time with your oral care routine and be sure to maintain all scheduled checkups with your dentist.
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