Caring for children’s teeth begins during pregnancy

Did you know that caring for your children’s teeth begins before they are even born? Learn more about the importance of oral care during pregnancy.

Alpharetta, GA – There are so many things to think about and check off during your pregnancy. Did you know that caring for your unborn baby’s teeth should be one of them?

“It may sound strange, but during your pregnancy, you can set the stage for the health of your child’s teeth,” says pediatric dentist Dr. Nanna Ariaban. “Throughout the nine months of your pregnancy is it more important than ever to ensure a good dental hygiene routine and to keep regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist. To make sure your mouth is healthy, schedule the first checkup once you learn you are pregnant, and another one for six months into the pregnancy.”

But how exactly does the health of the mother’s mouth impact the unborn baby?

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop three months into your pregnancy. To ensure they develop strong and healthy, it’s important to eat a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals. Eating a proper diet ensures your baby’s developing teeth, gums and bones grow strong and healthy.

Another big area for concern during pregnancy is gingivitis. Many women may experience pregnancy gingivitis, which happens when plaque builds up on the teeth and begins to irritate the gums. If your gums bleed when you brush or are red or inflamed, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.

An increased level of hormones in your body while you are pregnant can change the way your gums react to plaque, making you more susceptible top gingivitis while pregnant. Be sure you brush and floss properly, and pay close attention to cleaning properly at the gumline.

“We worry about gum disease in pregnant women because studies have shown that gum disease is linked to premature birth and low birth weight babies,” says Dr. Nanna. “While studies are continually being done to determine exactly how gum disease affects pregnancy, the most popular theory is that gum disease triggers an increase in the levels of biological fluids that can induce labor. And as gum disease worsens during a pregnancy, it increases the risk of having a premature baby.”

It is also recommended that pregnant women increase their intake of Xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sweetener found in many sugar-free chewing gums, toothpastes and other products. It can protect the teeth against the harmful bacteria that live in the mouth, and can create an added layer of protection for your unborn child. The oral biofilm in your mouth can be transferred to your baby, but adding Xylitol to your diet can level out the pH level of your mouth and protect you and your unborn baby.

“I recommend adding a dental appointment to the list of appointments you make once you find out you are pregnant,” says Dr. Nanna Ariaban. “You want the best for your baby, and taking proper care of your oral health is one step to take to ensure both of you stay healthy throughout the pregnancy.”