Pregnancy and Your Child's Developing Teeth
Many expectant mothers are aware that their nutrition plays a role in growing a healthy fetus including brain development and weight gain, additionally eating a healthy diet helps your fetus grow healthy teeth. The nutritional choices you make during your pregnancy plays a role in providing the amount of calcium and other minerals your fetus needs to have a healthy mouth. Our staff at Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry are happy to advise expectant moms on the tips, tools, and information they need to help their fetus develop stronger teeth. Once the baby is born, we can offer more information to help your child be successful in their oral hygiene.
The In Utero Development of Teeth
It’s difficult to imagine, but your baby is already working hard on their oral health even in development. Your baby begins to grow their primary teeth only six weeks into your pregnancy, and they need lots of calcium and other minerals to do it well.
The first stage of tooth development in utero is the mineralization of dentin; this is the inner portion of the tooth. By the third month of pregnancy, the hard outer layer is known as enamel then grows around the dentin, covering it entirely. Both of these layers require sufficient nutrients to grow, and if the mother has enough to give, the fetus can properly develop their teeth, if the mother is lacking in these nutrients, then there is not enough material to give to the fetus.
How you take care of yourself, including how you eat, can make a difference. If you eat well and watch what you intake, your baby will be stronger; if you make poor nutritional choices or consume things that are harmful to the fetus, the fetus will suffer in their development. Some poor choices can cause lifelong effects for your child.
Eating Right Can Help Grow Teeth
There are certain nutritional food choices that you can make to help your fetus grow healthy teeth.
Calcium is the one mineral that both your dentist and your physician will agree that your fetus needs plenty of. Your fetus is busy growing lots of bone and teeth. The intake of calcium is the most important component of growing both bone and teeth. It is so important that if the mother does not consume enough of it, your body is hardwired to simply take it from the mother’s bones, leaving the mother lacking. This may be why so many older women suffer from osteoporosis.
We encourage expectant mothers to consume foods high in calcium daily. This includes dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, and calcium can also be found in green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli.
Phosphorous is another important mineral in tooth development. Phosphorus helps your baby’s teeth be strong. Phosphorus is found in foods that are high in protein. This includes meats including red meat along with poultry and fish, nuts, beans, and dairy products.
Vitamin D is important to your bone health because it helps the body both absorb and then retain the nutrients from calcium and phosphorous. Living in the Great Northwest has many benefits, the intake of vitamin D is not one of them. Though vitamin D can be found in some foods, we just can not get enough vitamin D from the sun. Expectant mothers should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement; this is both for the health and wellbeing of the mother and the fetus.