Now is the time to think about your unborn child and how your actions and food choices can affect your baby’s smile, says Jennifer Holtzman, D.D.S., M.P.H., assistant professor at USC’s School of Dentistry. “A child’s dental care starts with his or her mother’s healthy pregnancy,” she says, pointing out that a baby’s teeth begin to form before birth.
Holtzman says it’s important to eat a balanced, nutritious diet and get an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. This includes eating vegetables, whole grains and legumes, choosing water or low fat milk as a beverage, avoiding carbonated drinks and drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily.
“In addition, it is important for pregnant women to have a complete dental exam and have any cavities or gum disease treated early on in the pregnancy,” says Holtzman. This is because pregnant women have a risk for increased inflammation of the gums due to the surge in estrogen and progesterone. If plaque is not removed, it can cause gingivitis, red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed. Holtzman says studies have shown that women with periodontal (gum) disease may be at risk for pre-term, low-birth weight babies.
Reprinted with permission from USC HealthNow