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Mom's diet important to development of baby's teeth

During pregnancy, eating a balanced diet is necessary to provide the correct amounts of nutrients to nourish both you and your child. What you eat during the nine months of pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child — including teeth.

Your baby's teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so it is important that you receive sufficient amounts of nutrients, especially calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D. It is a myth that calcium is lost from the mother's teeth during pregnancy. The calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not by your teeth.

If dietary calcium is inadequate, however, your body will provide this mineral from stores in your bones. An adequate intake of dairy products — the primary source of calcium — or the supplements your obstetrician may recommend will help ensure that you get all the calcium you need during your pregnancy.

During pregnancy, many women have the desire to eat between meals. While this is a normal urge, frequent snacking on carbohydrate-containing foods can be an invitation to tooth decay. Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals made up of foods from the five major food groups and 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.

To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, 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. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist.

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

8/24/2009

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