Pregnancy & Your Child’s Developing Teeth
At Coastal Carolina Orthodontics, it’s our mission to offer efficient and effective services that help our patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles.
As part of this commitment, we’re always happy to share information on how you and your family can maintain great dental and oral health. For example, for all those soon-to-be parents out there, did you know that there are steps you can take during pregnancy to ensure your child develops healthy teeth?
Many people don’t realize that even though a newborn’s teeth aren’t visible, they still exist beneath the gums. Children’s primary (baby) teeth actually start forming during the sixth week of pregnancy and mineralize during the third or fourth month of pregnancy. As such, proper dental care should start even before a baby is born.
Eating Right for Your Child
Like everything else that has to do with your baby’s physical development before birth, your child’s teeth depend on how well you take care of your own body. Developing teeth require the intake of several key nutrients in order to grow properly. If your body doesn’t receive these nutrients, your baby’s teeth won’t either. As your trusted Jacksonville, Morehead City, and Havelock, NC orthodontic practice, we’d like to provide you with a list of the most vital nutrients for prenatal tooth development.
- Calcium – This mineral is the main component of a person’s teeth. If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet to support fetal development, your body will actually take calcium from your own bones in order to meet your baby’s developing needs. To ensure that you’re getting a healthy amount of calcium, you’ll want to consume plenty of dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt), as well as broccoli and kale.
- Phosphorous – Another mineral that contributes to the strength of teeth is phosphorous. It’s found in all of the body’s cells and also in many foods – especially those with high-protein sources like meat, milk, and cereals. Thankfully, this is a very easy nutrient for your baby’s teeth to obtain.
- Vitamin D – This helps the body both absorb and retain calcium and phosphorous. While very few foods naturally contain Vitamin D (the exceptions are oily fish, such as salmon and tuna), it’s often added to milk and other beverages and foods. Additionally, it’s produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. Many people lack the sun exposure needed to get all the vitamin D that the body requires, so you may want to consider taking a supplement.
- Protein – After water, this is the most plentiful substance found in the body. Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the body’s tissues. The action of a single protein will cause calcium-phosphate crystals to form tooth enamel. While the body produces certain proteins, others must come from food. Some of the most protein-rich foods include meat and dairy products.
Supplements & Medications During Pregnancy
If you believe your pregnancy diet is lacking any of the above nutrients, it is a great idea to seek out professional advice on what supplements you can take. Be advised though, while it’s highly unlikely that you’ll consume too much of any given nutrient through your natural eating habits, it’s possible to overconsume certain vitamins and minerals when taking them in pill form.
When you first find out you’re pregnant, it is important to share this news with your family dentist and all your other healthcare professionals. By doing so, medications that are potentially harmful to pregnancy can immediately cease being prescribed. Some antibiotics may be unsafe for developing babies; for example, tetracycline can permanently stain teeth in utero. In addition, fluoride supplementation isn’t recommended at this time because its effects during pregnancy are unconfirmed.
Learn More Today
Coastal Carolina Orthodontics is dedicated to the development of beautiful, healthy smiles. To learn more about different dental and orthodontic topics, check back on our blog regularly. And for an appointment with one of our experienced orthodontists, contact our Jacksonville, Morehead City, or Havelock, NC office today!