Good Dental Nutrition for Your Child Begins In the Mother’s Womb
Care for your child’s teeth and gums to prevent dental issues later in life during your pregnancy. Beginning with a good nutritional diet during your pregnancy is so important for the healthy development of you and your baby. Then, once your child is born, make proper food choices, provide good dental hygiene and further develop your child’s jaw and teeth. This will play a significant role in the health of their mouths for years to come.
It’s no surprise that Mother Nature knows best when it comes to our children’s teeth. Did you know that before an infant is born, gut flora or gastrointestinal microbiota (intestinal bacteria) is working to manage your baby’s health and develop the jaw and bone strength of the mouth? This flora is passed from mother to infant at birth and helps provide their tiny system with the gut health they need to absorb all the nutrients for healthy teeth and gums.
Breastfeeding Offers Dental Nutrition Benefits
Breastfeeding, if possible, is the second step to deliver bacteria and essential nutrition from mother’s gut to infant. The nutrients from mother’s milk are easily absorbed and contribute to the mineralization of the teeth while suppressing bacteria on the teeth as they begin to form in the jaw.
Breastfeeding your child has other benefits too. Just like any muscle in your body your infant’s jaw muscles need exercise. It starts with breastfeeding. The mechanical motion of the infant when they suck and release with their tongue is in essence a workout. The movement of the jaw and tongue help to develop the jawbone before the infant’s first teeth. This provides a base for proper positioning of the jaw and teeth that will grow in uniformly as opposed to crooked.
Because there are sugars in breast milk the ADA also recommends you begin to wipe baby’s gums a few days after birth to remove any residue which may adhere to gums.
When to Begin Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
The time to start brushing your baby’s teeth is when you notice the first primary tooth peak through the gums. Brush the tooth lightly with a soft baby toothbrush moistened with water. This is the best time to call Paradise Ridge Dentistry to set up the baby’s first dental appointment with our highly qualified Phoenix Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Charles. She will advise you on when to start brushing with fluoride toothpaste and how much is recommended.
Tooth decay can begin as soon as the first tooth appears. If primary or baby teeth abscess or become infected the infection can spread to adult teeth. For this reason, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends your child’s first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday. And just like we recommend for adults, dental checkups should be scheduled every 6 months.
The baby teeth contain stem cells much like the umbilical cord and are the key players in the infant’s ability to chew and speak. They are the place – holders for the permanent teeth and ideally stay in the mouth until the new tooth pushes underneath. For this reason, it’s important that you take great care to keep them safe and healthy.
Dental Nutrition Tips
Other factors that determine the health of your child’s teeth are what they put in their mouth for nourishment. The following are helpful nutritional tips to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy for years to come:
- Limit snacks. This includes bottles filled with sugary liquids that they baby may have when they nap or go to bed. Use water instead. Bananas and raisins can stick to the surface of teeth due to the high concentration of sugar so be sure to serve with meals and brush teeth right after.
- Remember cough syrups and other medicines contain sugar and can eat away the enamel of the teeth so make sure to brush children’s teeth right after.
- Butter and coconut oil are great substitutes for sugar because they make food taste good to the young palate, much like sugar does, but with more nutritional value.
- Cut solid food into pieces for your child. This will encourage them to chew. Hand-size pieces of raw fruits and vegetables are are good so that they will bite into and chew. Broccoli and carrots are a great source of beta-carotene and the texture of these vegetables strengthen the teeth and jaw.
- Another workout for the teeth is meat on the bone such as chicken legs and ribs. The cartilage, tendons, and skin also provide proteins that build collagen.
- Aged cheese is a great source of calcium, Vitamin D, A, K2, and helps saliva production which cleans the surface of teeth from food buildup. Gouda and Brie are best but Cheddar, Colby or Swiss still have a good number of vitamins. Unfortunately, American cheese does not have the nutritional density as the other cheese.
- Probiotic foods like yogurt are great for the gut flora of a young system.
- Limit their sugar intake and use honey instead for sweeteners.
Nutrition health of your child’s teeth starts with you. Feed them a healthy diet and make sure they have regular dentist visits to keep their smile for a lifetime.
Book an appointment online now or give us a call to come in and see Dr. Charles.