It’s important to begin taking care of your baby’s teeth as early as during your pregnancy. Even in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, your child’s teeth are beginning to develop. These teeth may not erupt until your child is nearly 12 years old, but the beginning tooth buds can be greatly affected by the mother’s health or medications that she takes when pregnant.
Gum disease is perhaps the most common risk factor that can take a toll on a mother’s pregnancy. Pregnant women with active gum disease or periodontal disease are more likely to have premature labor or a low birth weight baby. Symptoms of gum disease include swollen, bleeding gums, bad breathe, tartar buildup and exposed root surfaces. When treated through preventive and therapeutic care, your dental provider can help you gain control over gum disease symptoms or reverse them completely.
Mothers who chew gum containing Xylitol during their pregnancies are more likely to give birth to children that have healthier teeth and a reduced rate of tooth decay. Xylitol works by preventing plaque from congregating in the mouth, and encourages enamel remineralization. One study suggested that chewing Xylitol containing gum at least 5 times per day was as effective at plaque removal as brushing teeth!
Learn more about caring for your infant’s oral health after they are born. Early on, you can use a soft damp washcloth to cleanse the gums, tongue and inside of the cheeks. As teeth begin to erupt, switch to a soft baby toothbrush and tap water. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of milk or juice, as long-term exposure to liquids other than water can encourage rampant tooth decay.
Posted on behalf of North Point Periodontics
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