What to Eat During Pregnancy to Ensure Your Baby Has Healthy Teeth

What to Eat During Pregnancy to Ensure Your Baby Has Healthy Teeth

Babies’ teeth begin developing in the womb between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. While nutrition during pregnancy is important for all forms of healthy fetal development, it’s important for the development of healthy teeth as well. To support healthy teeth in your baby, there are certain foods you should eat and some you should avoid. 

Eat

Dairy

Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese have both protein and calcium, which support strong teeth for both you and your baby. If you are lactose-intolerant or allergic to dairy finding dairy substitutes that are high in protein and calcium or taking a (doctor-approved) calcium supplement can make up for the lack of dairy in your diet.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that can help baby grow and develop and keep mom healthy as well. Additionally, vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, spinach and fruits like papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, bananas, and strawberries contain folic acid, a vital nutrient for reducing the risk of birth defects.

Fluoridated Water 

Fluoride protects tooth enamel, and water is the best hydrator out there. Either drink fluoridated water from a municipal source or well, or, if you prefer bottled water, ensure that the kind you buy contains fluoride.

 

Avoid

Sugary foods

Foods with lots of sugar like candies and baked goods—among other things, there’s sugar in almost any processed food you can buy—are just as bad for baby’s teeth as they are for yours. Remember, what you eat, the baby eats.  

High-sugar drinks

Juice, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and sodas are all extremely high in sugar, which is bad for your teeth and baby’s. Drink water or milk instead. 

 

For more information on oral health during pregnancy, check out Michigan’s Perinatal Oral Health Guidelines and get in touch with the dentists at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

 

How Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

How Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

Babies and young children often suck on their thumbs and other objects. It is a natural reflex and can give them a sense of security. But since the beginning of time, parents have worried that thumbsucking and using pacifiers could harm their child’s teeth. So, how can thumbsucking affect your child’s teeth?

When does thumbsucking become a problem?

For babies without any teeth, thumbsucking does not present much of a problem. Even after a few teeth come in, thumbsucking still isn’t a major issue necessarily, as those teeth are not permanent teeth. But when it comes to permanent teeth, thumbsucking can affect the position and crookedness of teeth or the palate (the roof of the mouth). So, the child’s age is a factor. Many children stop sucking their thumbs before the permanent front teeth erupt. It is important that before those teeth come in that the habit of thumbsucking is broken.

Additionally, how the child sucks their thumb or pacifier can affect whether dental issues arise. Children who vigorously suck on their thumb are more likely to have affected teeth versus children who more passively suck their thumb or just rest it in their mouths.

How do you stop your child from thumbsucking?

No doubt you’ve heard of many home remedies to thumb sucking. Depending on the age of the child, different methods may be effective.

  • Help your child replace thumbsucking with a new method of self-soothing, like hugging a favorite stuffed animal
  • Offer positive reinforcement for not thumbsucking
  • Have your dentist explain the potential consequences of thumbsucking to the child
  • Cover the thumb or thumbnail with a bitter substance (ask your dentist for recommendations)
  • Place a bandage on the thumb
  • Cover the hand with a sock at night to prevent the child from thumbsucking in his or her sleep

Thumbsucking is a difficult habit to break, especially in very young children, but if left unchecked it could lead to dental problems in the future. If you’re concerned that your child’s dependence on sucking their thumb or pacifier might be harming their teeth, talk to their dentist to find out potential issues and solutions appropriate to your child’s age and situation.

To keep your child’s teeth healthy, schedule their regular dental checkups with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.