I'm Pregnant - What Is Best For My Child's Dental Development?
If you are an expecting mother, there are plenty of things for you to worry about, and dental care is probably the last thing on your mind. But even if there won’t be any teeth visible in your baby when he or she is born, the truth is they are already starting to form, even prior to birth. And there are a number of actions and behaviors you can take to ensure that your children enjoy the optimal dental development.
It’s also important for women who are pregnant to pay careful attention to their own dental health. Unhealthy teeth, especially due to bacterial infection, can have an adverse impact on your unborn child. That’s why it’s a good idea to make at least one visit to the dentist while you are pregnant.
Dr. Jobst and the entire staff at Grand Lake Dental place a premium on caring for families, and that includes new and expecting mothers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some tips and recommendations for what pregnant women can do to ensure optimal dental development for their children.
How To Ensure Optimal Tooth Development While Pregnant
One of the questions we are most often asked regarding children’s oral development is when do teeth begin forming. People are surprised to learn the answer is generally around the sixth week of pregnancy. Furthermore, your child’s dentin and enamel start the mineralization process as early as the third month of pregnancy. This means it really never is too early to start thinking about your child’s dental care.
The best way to look after your baby’s teeth prior to birth is to ensure that you are taking proper care of yourself. It is especially important to eat healthy and to avoid certain foods and substances that could have an adverse impact on your baby. One nutrient to pay particular attention to is calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is essential for the healthy development of teeth and bones, and expecting mothers need to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, and sesame.
Another mineral important to your teeth is phosphorous, which can be found in high protein food sources, such as meat, milk, beans, and nuts. Vitamin D must also not be overlooked, as it makes it possible for the body to absorb and make use of calcium and phosphorous. It is hard to find Vitamin D in foods naturally, other than fish such as salmon and tuna, but many of the foods we buy in the grocery store have been fortified with Vitamin D, including milk and cereals. Vitamin D can also be produced naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
One other substance to pay special attention to while pregnant (at least in terms of dental development) is protein, although if you are getting enough calcium and phosphorous through natural sources, you’re also likely to be getting plenty of protein.
Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Your Teeth While Pregnant
Of course, in your concern for the health of your children’s teeth, it’s important not to overlook your own teeth as well. This is why you should always inform your dentist when you are pregnant and make sure to get your teeth checked as soon as possible. This will help to make sure there aren’t any undiagnosed problems with your teeth that could adversely impact your child.
Some mothers-to-be are naturally concerned about visiting the dentist while pregnant, but you can rest assured that it is perfectly safe, especially if you let your dentist know that you are pregnant. All routine dental care and even emergency procedures can be done without fear while pregnant, although it is recommended that elective dental procedures be postponed until after the birth. One of the biggest worries pregnant women have is with getting x-rays, but your dentist will take extra precautions to protect you and your baby.
The Link Between Oral Hygiene And Healthy Pregnancy
The reason it’s so important to maintain good oral hygiene while pregnant is that researchers have found links between severe gum disease in expecting mothers and premature births. Statistics indicate that nearly 20% of premature births may be related to periodontal disease in the mother. Premature birth can increase the risk of brain injury, slower development, impaired eyesight and hearing, and many other conditions.
The sad part is that in most cases gum disease is easily treatable. The best way to prevent gum disease is to maintain good oral hygiene on a regular basis, before pregnancy even occurs. This means brushing your teeth after meals, flossing every day, and rinsing with a dentist-approved mouthwash. Eating healthy, limiting sugar intake, especially sugary beverages, and avoiding tobacco use are also highly recommended.
Also of concern, the nausea associated with morning sickness, which can result in vomiting, can wreak havoc on your teeth. Rather than brushing your teeth right after vomiting or acid reflux, which can actually cause the acid in your mouth to be more damaging to your enamel, rinse your mouth immediately after vomiting with mouthwash.
Your Grove, Oklahoma Prenatal Dental Specialist
Pregnancy can be a challenging time for expecting mothers, especially if it’s your first child. Thankfully, Dr. Jobst and the professional team of dental technicians at Grand Lake Dental are experienced with helping women navigate the challenges of pregnancy with an eye on oral hygiene for both mother and child. It’s never too early to instill the proper habits and regimens that can ensure a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. If you have questions or concerns surrounding pregnancy and how it relates to your dental health, or the health of your unborn child, please don’t hesitate to ask.
At Grand Lake Dental, our number one priority is to provide Oklahoma families with the latest, most advanced dental treatments and procedures. We strive to treat every one of our patients as if they were a member of our own family. You’ll rest easy knowing that you and your children are being treated with the highest levels of professionalism and care.
For the best dental care in Grove, Oklahoma, contact us today and schedule an appointment.