Pregnancy, Expecting Parents and Baby Teeth
Expecting parents here is what you need to know and do to positively affect the development of your unborn child’s teeth.
Q: What concerns should I have if I’m pregnant or thinking about having a baby?
A: Up to 3 out of 4 pregnant women have gingivitis due to hormonal changes. Untreated gingivitis can progress to chronic periodontitis. Oral infections need to be treated during pregnancy.
Treated dental decay reduces the transmission of potentially decay producing oral bacteria from mother to infants. Babies are not born with the bacteria that cause dental decay they are infected after birth from their mothers. Reduce spreading these bacteria by having the dentist fill all untreated cavities.
Oral health care improves a woman’s general health thought her lifetime.
Q: What can a woman do during the pregnancy period to insure proper development of their child’s teeth?
A: Overall health affects the development of the unborn and tooth development. Baby teeth start to form and calcify during the third to sixth month of pregnancy.
- Make your regular obstetrician visits
- You need to maintain good oral health
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Get proper rest
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
- Refrain from using alcohol
- Schedule regular dental visits for check-up exams and cleanings
Q: When do teeth develop?
A: Baby teeth are not visible at birth. A baby is born with 20 baby teeth developing within their jaws. The first tooth will erupt into the mouth as soon as 6 months after birth.
Disturbance to the baby’s metabolism during pregnancy can cause these developing baby teeth to be discolored, malformed or hypo-calcified when they finally erupt.
Q: I only drink bottled water; do I get enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay in my baby’s forming teeth?
A: Water with fluoride prevents tooth decay. Its main effect is during the formation of teeth. If bottled water is your main source of drinking water you are probably depriving your child of the decay preventing properties of fluoride. The majority of bottled waters do not contain therapeutic levels of fluoride.
Tooth formation begins two months after conception. Pregnant women need to drink a glass (8 ounces) of fluoridated tap water a day for a therapeutic intake of fluoride in developing baby teeth. Bottled water does not contain any fluoride unless specified on the label. Optimal levels are 0.7-1.2 ppm of fluoride
Q: Can I have dental treatment while I’m pregnant?
A: Pregnant woman can safely undergo dental treatment with local anesthetics, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. Dental disease not treated during pregnancy can lead to future problems for you and your baby.
Regardless of the trimester, urgent dental treatment should be addressed. Examples of urgent dental problems include broken teeth, an infection or any problem that causes pain.
It is best to avoid using any medicines during pregnancy. Where they are necessary, dental anesthetics, antibiotics and pain medicines can be used.
Oral health care is a part of overall general health and should be maintained before, during and after pregnancy and through a woman’s lifetime.