Prenatal & Pediatric Dental Care – Starting Early for Good Health Later!
Parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs a person can have in their lifetime.
It can also be the most stressful. There are so many things to think (AKA: Worry) about. And the worry starts as soon as you find out you’re going to have a baby.
Thankfully, we have resources right at our fingertips, in the age of the internet. We can find out all we need to know about how to raise our children, which schools they should go to, and how to take care of them when they’re sick.
With all of the information available, though, it can get overwhelming at times. And that is why we wanted to create a guide for soon-to-be parents about prenatal and pediatric dental care.
You’ll learn why prenatal dental care is so important, how to make it happen, and how to care for your child’s teeth once they start coming in.
Why Prenatal Dental Care Is Important
Dental care starts from day one – from the day you find out you’re pregnant.
If you’re pregnant, you’re probably aware of (or in the process of learning about) everything you need to do for overall prenatal health.
But what about prenatal dental care?
Studies have shown that choices you make right now will not only affect your baby’s overall health, but their dental health as well.
Here are some things you can do right now to keep yourself healthy and get your child started on the right path.
Steps To Take During Pregnancy:
Take Care of Your Own Teeth – Caring for your oral health can reduce your risk of decay, as well as gum disease, which can affect your heart and blood pressure. Additionally, when you have your own healthy home care practices, it’s easier to pass these along to your child. An important part of taking care of your own teeth is making sure you schedule regular cleanings and dental exams. Make an appointment here.
Eat a Healthy Diet – During your pregnancy, make sure to eat foods that have a lot of vitamins and minerals, like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s particularly important to include foods rich in calcium and magnesium. Some foods abundant in these nutrients include: spinach, quinoa, beans, kale, fish, raw milk, yogurt, nuts, and seeds. If you find that you aren’t able to eat as many calcium- and magnesium-rich foods as you would like, find a supplement that contains them.
Don’t Forget Vitamin D! – Vitamin D is vital to calcium absorption and our overall health and energy levels. There has even been a correlation between a person’s level of Vitamin D and their risk of dental decay. Some claim that this vitamin may actually be more effective at preventing decay than fluoride. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, either because we live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun or because we spend so much time indoors. Get a blood test to check your Vitamin D levels. If your levels are especially low, an over the counter supplement won’t be sufficient. Your doctor can prescribe a high-dose Vitamin D that can help you reach normal levels again.
If you are struggling with morning sickness, it’s important to avoid brushing your teeth too soon after. The stomach acids can be harsh on your tooth enamel and brushing your teeth immediately can intensify the harsh effects of the acids. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and wait 30 minutes prior to brushing.
Pediatric Dental Care and When to Take Your Child to a Dentist
Some parents make the mistake of thinking that they don’t have to do much in the way of dental care until baby’s first teeth come in.
But it’s great to start right away. After every meal of breast milk or formula, take a soft, damp washcloth and gently wipe your baby’s gums. Doing this will prevent bacterial or fungal infections, and get you and your baby into the habit of practicing regular dental hygiene.
Once your baby’s teeth come in, start brushing their teeth with a child’s toothbrush. These are made specifically for children of certain ages, so they fit their mouth really well and have soft bristles that won’t harm baby’s sensitive gums.
Brushing should happen at twice a day – morning and night. And we like to begin seeing our young patients around the age of 3.
When we see a child for the first time, we evaluate the gums and teeth for decay and abnormalities. For the most part, the first visit is a chance to get to know the parents and their child, get the child used to going to the dentist, and providing mom and dad with dental care tips and education.
Another great idea is to bring your child in with you to your cleanings within the 6 months prior to the child’s first cleaning and exam. This way they can sit on mom and/or dad’s lap and get a feel for the room, the people, the instruments. Doing this and talking to your child ahead of time about all the great things a dentist and hygienist can do to keep your teeth healthy and bright, will put them at ease and make their dental experiences happy ones!
Your Baby Is All Grown Up! How to Train Your Child to Care for Their Teeth
Good dental habits will be essential to keeping your child and their teeth healthy throughout their childhood and into adulthood. Here are some tips for healthy dental home care.
- Brush at least twice a day, if not after every meal.
- Floss every evening.
- Prevent decay by providing a diet of fresh fruits and veggies, and keeping an eye on your child’s Vitamin D levels.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar. If candy, soda, or even something like dried fruit is consumed, try to brush right afterward. The faster you can remove the sugar in the mouth – the better!
- Keep teeth healthy and strong with natural toothpastes. Look for products that are free of fluoride, artificial sweeteners, and colors.
Start Early to Give Your Kids the Gift of Healthy Teeth
As parents ourselves, we know all too well that one of the best gifts we can give our children is the gift of health, including their dental health.
That’s why we urge pregnant women to eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet now and to follow healthful dental homecare practices right after their baby is born.
And of course, we encourage them to schedule regular appointments with a pediatric dentist.
GOODHEALTH.dental is proud to offer our Cleveland & Solon are patients pediatric dentistry in addition to our other dental services. You can be sure that when you bring your child into our office for regular checkups and cleanings we’ll take care of them as if they were our very own.
Are you looking for a family dental care provider in Cleveland or Solon Ohio? We can take care of your whole family! Contact us to schedule examinations for you and your children. We look forward to seeing you soon.