Did you know that your baby’s teeth begin developing during the fifth week of pregnancy? That means, making good choices early in pregnancy and throughout their little lives can protect your baby’s smile.
While You Are Pregnant
This is a time to focus on eating a balanced diet with enough calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins A and D. For calcium rich foods, choose milk, yogurt and cheese, along with leafy greens and fruit. Those leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, will also provide your vitamin A. Other sources include carrots and sweet potatoes. Nuts and seeds, meats, poultry and fish are great sources for phosphorous. Meats and fish also provide vitamin D. The side benefit of eating to benefit your baby’s teeth is that your teeth will be stronger too!
Using a warm, wet washcloth (no toothpaste yet) is a great way to keep baby’s gums healthy while waiting for those first teeth to emerge. The cloth will dislodge bacteria and stimulate gums.
Ages 2 to 6
Baby teeth begin appearing between 6 and 12 months of age and most children will have all baby teeth erupted by age 2-3. Begin teaching dental hygiene by using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with a pea-size amount of toothpaste twice a day.
Research shows that children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities as an adult so this is also a good time to visit your dentist for regular cleanings. Begin early so that your little one becomes comfortable with the setting.
Ages 6 to 12
By age six, your little one may begin losing baby teeth so that permanent teeth can come in. This is a great time to visit your dentist to ensure teeth are aligned properly. Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting or crowding which can cause poorly aligned teeth, or misaligned jaws, can lead to poor eating habits and health issues. Your dentist will quickly identify issues and refer you to an orthodontist, if necessary.
From the moment your little one is a flutter in your tummy, taking care of his or her teeth is important. For more information on dental care for your baby, speak to your dentist. If you need a referral to a dentist, call us!