The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women receive oral healthcare and counseling during pregnancy. Research has shown evidence that periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways you can prevent periodontal disease during pregnancy.
Additionally, mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing the bacteria which causes cavities to their young children. Mother’s should follow these simple steps to decrease the risk of spreading cavity-causing bacteria:
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Brush and floss on a daily basis to reduce bacterial plaque
- Proper diet, with the reduction of beverages and foods high in sugar & starch
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste recommended by the ADA and rinse every night with an alcohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse with .05% sodium fluoride in order to reduce plaque levels
- Don’t share utensils, cups or food which can cause the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria to your children
- Use of xylitol chewing gum (4 pieces per day by the mother) can decrease a child’s caries rate
The Perinatal Period
The Perinatal Period is the period of time starting at the 20th to 28th period of gestation and ending at one to four weeks after birth. It is a critical time for the development and growth of a healthy baby. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry urges that pregnant women receive the oral health care they need. It is essential that expecting mothers receive dental treatment and counseling to provide a strong foundation for oral health in their children.
Mothers with improper oral health may pass down bacteria from caries (cavities) to their unborn children. Pregnant women must follow basic steps, like brushing, flossing and good nutrition, to prevent cavities of their own.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, also known as Early Childhood Caries, results in cavities in primary (baby teeth). This is caused by frequent and prolonged exposure to sugary liquids, including breast milk.
Early childhood caries can also occur when the mother, primary caregiver or siblings with untreated cavities share utensils, toothbrushes or a pacifier. This is due to the transmission of decay causing bacteria to the infant or toddler.
Parents should avoid putting their child to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. Sugary liquids can create plaque, producing acids that will weaken and harm sensitive tooth enamel. Wipe your baby’s gums and teeth with a damp wash cloth or brush your child’s teeth gently with a small amount of toothpaste to further prevent decay.
When Will My Baby Start Getting Teeth?
Teething, the process of baby (primary) teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies.
Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and they usually begin erupting between the age of 6-8 months.