Caring for baby teeth start before birth
Your baby’s teeth are not visible at birth. However, a pregnant mum’s diet during pregnancy is a very important part of healthy tooth development. Teeth development begins during 6th week of pregnancy and at birth are located within the gums.
Pregnancy and the first years of your baby’s life are very significant and memorable, as you will want to take good care of yourself and get your baby off to a healthy start.
Before Baby Arrives;
Eat a healthy diet. What you eat during pregnancy affects the growth of your unborn child, including their teeth.
- Calcium & Phosphorus: Calcium, a mineral that is the main component of teeth. The best dietary sources of calcium are in dairy foods such as milk, cheese and low-fat yogurt. The calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not your teeth. Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet. Phosphorus, is another vitamin D for the hardness of teeth. This is found in many high protein sources such as meat and milk.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus. Very few foods contain Vitamin D especially oily fish. It is also produced naturally in the body when exposed to direct sunlight, although extensive periods of direct sunlight is highly discouraged.
Snacking & Tooth Decay. During pregnancy, it is normal for woman to feel hungry and have the desire to eat more in between meals. However, frequent snacking on sugary foods causes acid to attack the teeth, this can be an invitation for tooth decay. When snacking, choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables, yogurt, or cheese. Always make sure to follow your physician’s advice regarding diet.
Pregnancy may affect your gums. Pregnancy hormones can cause your gum tissue to become more sensitive to plaque. Your gums will become red, tender, and likely to bleed easily while brushing. This condition is commonly referred to as gingivitis. Gingivitis is very common during pregnancy and afterwards if one decides to nurse. Your dentist may advise you to have more frequent cleanings during your second or third trimester to avoid dental problems.
Tips for Eating Well During Pregnancy:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and dairy products.
- Eat fewer foods that are high in sugar, including candy, cookies, cake or high sugar beverages such as juice and soft drinks.
- Choose foods low in sugar such as fruit, vegetables, cheese and yogurt for snacking.
- Eat small amounts of healthy food throughout the day.
- Drink water throughout the day, between meals and snacks. Drink fluoridated water or bottled water that contains fluoride.
- Reduce the risk of birth defects, take 600 micrograms of folic acid each day throughout your pregnancy. Take a dietary supplement of folic acid and eat foods high in folate such as, asparagus, broccoli, legumes, oranges, strawberries, bananas, and grain products fortified with folic acid.
After the baby is born;
Your baby’s primary teeth will begin to appear at about six months of age. Most children develop a full set of 20 teeth by the age of three. Having healthy, strong baby teeth will help your child chew easily, speak clearly, smile, and provide face shape.
Teething Symptoms Include;
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Drooling more than usual
What’s not normal?
If your baby has any of these symptoms while teething and continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your pediatrician.
How to Soothe a Teething Baby
Your child may have sore or tender gums when teeth begin to erupt. Gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad can be soothing. A clean teether for your child to chew on may also help. Look for teethers made of solid rubber, and avoid liquid-filled teething rings or plastic objects that could break.