Keeping teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy.
During Pregnancy the best insurance for a healthy baby is a mother who is healthy. She eats a nutritious diet before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Your child’s baby teeth start to develop around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Calcium is essential in your diet while pregnant and breastfeeding. It helps to build the teeth and bones of the developing child. Once calcium is deposited in the teeth it cannot be removed, however calcium may be withdrawn from the mothers bones if there is not an adequate dietary intake.
Pregnant mothers will require 1000mg of Calcium per day and while breastfeeding about 1200mg. One glass of milk will provide 300mg of Calcium.
Other sources of Calcium are: fish with edible bones eg. Sardines or salmon; whole grain cereals, beans. Caffeine decreases the calcium available to you.
Avoiding Bleeding gums
The nausea and fatigue many pregnant women experience may mean tooth brushing is neglected. If plaque is allowed to build up gum disease will result. Pregnant mothers are more prone to this gum disease at this time, which is also due to hormonal changes.
It is not unusual to have bleeding gums during pregnancy. This mostly disappears after delivery. The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure you clean your teeth thoroughly everyday. Your dentist will advise you on this and scale and polish your teeth, which will be a great help.
If you give the baby fruit juice, always dilute it with water. Never let your baby suck for long periods, at a bottle containing fruit juice-it’s a sure way to get dental decay.
Just like an adult’s mouth, a baby’s mouth is full of bacteria. These bacteria feed on sugars found in the liquids we drink and in the foods we eat. Ungrateful hosts, these bacteria produce acid as a by-product of their feasting. It is this acid which attacks the tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Many mothers, in order to keep the baby quiet at night, often give the child a bottle with either milk or sugar water in it to take to bed. If this is continued beyond 10months it may lead to rampant tooth decay. Children with this type of problem usually fit a specific pattern, called “Baby Bottle Syndrome” or “Nursing Bottle Syndrome.”
When the child falls asleep sucking on the bottle, the liquid pools around the upper front teeth and is warmed by the mouth. This causes decay on the upper front teeth and then spreading to the molar teeth.
What can parents do to protect their children’s teeth? We suggest that after every bottle-feeding you take a wet cloth or gauze pad and gently wipe your child’s gums and teeth. This will remove any bacteria containing plaque and excess sugar that may have built up.
What liquid should you put in your baby’s bedtime bottle? Natural juices such as grape juice or apple juice contain natural sugars which bacteria can use to create acids. Milk contains a sugar called lactose, which bacteria can also use to create acid. If you give your child a bedtime bottle, the liquid of choice inside of the baby’s bottle is water. Water contains no sugar and cannot be used by bacteria to produce acid.