A long life of healthy teeth begins in the mother’s womb. It is also important to prevent gum disease and maintain a balanced diet.
Medical Advisor; Liliana María Ortiz, Pediatric Dentist, Practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
Forty weeks in the life of a mother is a relatively small period of time; it is a defining period, however, in the life of their child. All the preventative measures that expecting mothers can take during this crucial period will later impact not just the health of their baby, but also the health of the man or woman that they will grow to be.
Included in these preventative measures are those related to dental health. For example, it is important for expecting mothers to be free of cavities and of gum diseases, as the bacteria involved in these diseases can be passed on to the baby.
Pregnant women should also have good dental hygiene, as a relationship has been established between gum disease and premature births. Because pregnant women often experience nausea or vomiting, these may lead to cavities, which is why women are recommended to brush their teeth after vomiting and to use a mixture of water and baking soda as a mouthwash to improve their oral hygiene. It is also suggested that they maintain a diet that is low in sugar and choose gum that is sweetened with xylitol (no more than 3 times a day) in order to reduce their risk of cavities.
Women that are pregnant are able to contribute important vitamins and minerals to the dental health of their growing child such as vitamins A, B, C, and D, and calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D helps develop healthy teeth and bones in the baby, which is why pregnant women should spend ten minutes a day in the sun in order for this vitamin to be activated.
The consumption of folic acid is always recommended in the form of a supplement (prior to becoming pregnant) or through maintaining a diet that is rich in spinach, chard, nuts, seeds, meat, milk products and fish. They should also eat legumes, fruits and beans such as lentils, pinto beans and garbanzo beans.
Just as you can contribute to benefiting the dental health of your child, you can also cause them harm by taking any medications that alter the development of the teeth. You should therefore consult with your gynecologist or physician before considering to take any medications.
Included in these preventative measures is abstaining from the consumption of drinks that contain stimulants, abstaining from liquor and not smoking. These measures should be taken not just because your general health indirectly impacts the health of your baby, but because these harmful substances can cause neurological damage.
Once your baby has been born, this new addition to the family needs protection. In first caring for your child, it is important to clean their gums, tongue and palate either with clean gauze or with a silicone finger toothbrush and water. This should be done in a gentle manner and can take place during bath times.
Babies begin teething between four and six months. When this happens, the baby will drool more and will constantly place their hand in their mouth as emerging teeth causes gums to become inflamed and will produce discomfort. In order to manage this sensation, you can give your baby a teether or a carrot; both should be cold to counteract inflammation. Topical anesthetics should not be applied to your baby at this age because it not suitable for children under the age of two, unless its use is strictly monitored by a pediatrician or pediatric dentist.
Brushing your baby’s teeth
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends using toothpaste with fluoride twice a day in a controlled amount, such as 1,100 ppm fluoride. As the 2015-2016 AAPD Reference Manual shows in the adjacent image, the amount of toothpaste that should be applied is similar to the size of a grain of rice for children under age three, and the size of pea for children between ages three and six.
When children want to brush their teeth on their own, provide them with toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Parents should then use toothpaste with fluoride when they inspect and brush their child’s teeth afterwards. Having the right amount of toothpaste is crucial, you should always follow instructions on the recommended amount•
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEALTHY TOOTH HYGIENE
- It is important for expecting mothers to be free of cavities and of gum disease, as the bacteria involved in these diseases can be passed on to the baby.
- Because pregnant women often experience nausea or vomiting, this may lead to cavities. Women who experience this are recommended to brush their teeth and use a mixture of water and baking soda as a mouthwash to improve their oral hygiene.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Reference Manual recommends using fluoride toothpaste twice a day in a controlled amount.
- When children want to brush their teeth on their own, provide them with toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Parents should then use toothpaste with fluoride when they inspect and brush their child’s teeth afterwards.
- Medical and dental checkups during pregnancy and during the baby’s first year of life are important keys to achieving proper oral health all throughout life.
- The Dental Elite program offered by Coomeva Private Healthcare includes preventative care visits and several additional benefits.