Strong Teeth Begin Before Birth

Whether you’re expecting, thinking about growing your family or just planning for the future, there are many things you can do before your baby arrives to prepare him or her for a lifetime of good oral health. Follow these steps to help build the best oral health foundation possible for your baby.

Take Your Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are a great way to ensure your unborn baby is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, calcium, iron and iodine. Getting enough of these vitamins can protect your baby’s teeth from a wide range of oral health problems such as enamel hypoplasia, improper dentin formation, white spot lesions and gingival hemorrhaging.

Missing out on these vital nutrients can put your child at a higher risk of cavities and incomplete calcification of the teeth.

Eat Lots of Protein

We hear a lot about protein for growing muscle, but did you know protein can also help with teeth? That’s because protein helps with bone growth, which in turn helps ensure your baby’s teeth will grow in evenly, reducing the risk of crowding. Crowding can not only look bad, but can also throw off your entire bite, causing speech problems, difficulty chewing and even TMJ disorder or jaw pain.

Quit Smoking

You’ve probably heard this many times before, but smoking is dangerous to your health and to your unborn baby’s health. But it’s not just your baby’s lungs that can be damaged by cigarette smoke. Did you know that babies born to mothers who smoke have a 2.5 times higher risk of developing cleft palate?

Do you vape? The prognosis isn’t much better. Babies born to mothers who use e-cigarettes, or “vape,” were found to have an increased risk of midface hypoplasia, median facial clefts, cranial cartilage and muscle defects and even reduced blood supply to the face!

Brush and Floss

Pregnancy gingivitis is a hormone-related phenomenon that occurs during some pregnancies. This can cause the same symptoms as regular gingivitis (red, swollen gums; bleeding when you brush and floss). Thankfully this condition is temporary and will subside when the pregnancy is over, but don’t let it dissuade you from brushing and flossing. Mothers with periodontal disease have a higher risk of giving birth to babies with low birth weight, and this disease is entirely preventable with good oral hygiene.

If you have any other questions about what you can do before, during and after pregnancy to ensure your child has the best oral health possible, contact Dr. George at 724-934-3422 today.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on March 2nd, 2018