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New mothers can protect their teeth with a high calcium diet

New mothers who breastfeed should protect their oral health by eating a diet high in calcium, researchers say.

Japanese researchers studied animal populations to determine if breastfeeding affects periodontitis and alveolar bone loss and found that mothers with low calcium diets could put the bone structures around their teeth at risk.

"While our study was on a rat population, the evidence confirmed that breastfeeding can cause increased bone loss in the mother, especially when the mother has insufficient calcium intake," said Dr. Kanako Shoji, Division of Periodontology and Endodontology at Tohoku University. "But additional studies in human populations are necessary to confirm these findings."

Mothers-to-be can begin protecting the oral health of themselves and their baby with a healthy diet and good preventive oral health care.

Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals made up of foods from the five major food groups: breads, cereals and other grains; fruits; vegetables; meat, fish, poultry and protein alternates; and milk, yogurt and cheese. Try to resist the urge to snack constantly. When you need a snack, choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products. Following your physician's advice regarding diet is your wisest course.

Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Visit your dentist regularly.

For more information, visit the American Dental Association Web site at www.ada.org/public/topics/pregnancy.asp.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

1/22/2007

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