What to eat when you’re expecting

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and a well-balanced diet is more important than ever to help ensure expectant mothers deliver healthy babies.

That’s because what you eat during your pregnancy affects the development of your baby, including the teeth, according to MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website.

A baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of the pregnancy. This means a sufficient quantity of nutrients — especially vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorus — are needed.

According to the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced diet should include:

·      Fruits and vegetables: Combined, these should be half of what you eat every day.

·      Grains: Half of the grains consumed should be whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.

·      Dairy: Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.

·      Lean proteins: Choices include lean beef, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, beans, peas and legumes.

In addition, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center has compiled a list of tips to follow during pregnancy.

·      Eat fewer foods high in sugar, including candy, cookies, cake and dried fruit.

·      Drink water or milk, and consume fewer beverages high in sugar, including juice, fruit-flavored drinks or soft drinks.

·      For snacks, choose foods low in sugar such as fruits, vegetables, cheese and unsweetened yogurt.

·      If you have trouble with nausea, try eating small amounts of health foods throughout the day.

·      Drink water, especially fluoridated water, throughout the day and between meals and snacks.

·      To reduce the risk of birth defects, get 600 micrograms of folic acid each day throughout your pregnancy. Take dietary supplement of folic acid and eat foods high in folate and foods fortified with folic acids. These include asparagus, broccoli, leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach, legumes, papaya, tomato juice, oranges, strawberries, bananas, and grain products.

© 2018 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During PREGNANCY

To help minimize any risks during pregnancy, here is some general advice and some common conditions to be on the lookout for:

  1. Gum disease – during pregnancy, teeth and gums need special attention. Regular tooth brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, eating a balanced diet and visiting the dentist regularly will help reduce dental problems that accompany pregnancy.

  2. Enamel erosion – for some women, morning sickness is a major symptom of pregnancy. Along with the nausea comes additional acid that, if left in your mouth, can erode your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water or with a fluoride mouthwash to keep the acid level under control.

  3. Dry mouth – pregnancy dry mouth can put women at a greater risk for problems such as tooth decay and infections. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to enhance production of saliva.