Many may believe that having healthy teeth begins with tending to the teeth that are fully grown and visible. However, successful oral health begins even before a baby is born. There are many factors that contribute to the health of a newborn baby’s teeth that affect the longevity of their adult teeth. One of the most important steps to take to protect a newborn baby’s oral health is for women to maintain their dental checkups throughout their pregnancies. When women make sure that their own oral health is up to par, their babies have a better chance of having good oral health as well.
When baby teeth are lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into empty space and make it difficult for other teeth to effectively grow in. It’s important that healthy dental habits are taught to children early because tooth decay can occur as soon as the first tooth comes in.
Newborn babies can develop tooth decay if their mouths are exposed to acid-producing bacteria. When parents or caregivers pass on their saliva via shared spoons or cups, they pass on the bacteria from their own mouths to a newborn’s mouth. Bacteria is also spread when parents or caregivers clean a pacifier with their mouth or test foods before giving it to a baby.
Bacteria also grow when a baby’s gums are exposed to anything other than water for long periods of time. If babies are consuming food or drinks that contain natural or added sugar, the bacteria in the mouth dissolves it into acid, which then attacks the gums. For this reason, it’s important for parents not to put their children to bed with bottles of milk or juice. If children are going to consume milk or juice it should only be with meals. Any other time a child is thirsty in between meals, they should be given water, especially during long car rides.
If a baby is experiencing tooth decay, white spots will appear in their gums, but the spots will be hard to see by parents. This is why it’s vital for dentists to inspect babies’ gums because they have the proper equipment to accurately check for any signs of tooth decay.
The best way to prevent babies from developing tooth decay is for pregnant women to practice good oral hygiene habits, which includes seeing a dentist for annual checkups. At McBride Dental, we offer a number of preventative care services to help pregnant women maintain good oral health.
At McBride Dental, our goal is to help our patients protect their smiles from tooth decay or any other oral health issue. We offer X-rays, deep cleanings, dental sealants, and other preventative care services to help our clients maintain the beautiful and healthy teeth they desire. If you are in the San Diego area and are interested in our services, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment today.