An infant’s baby teeth are seen in an undated stock photo.

Pediatric dentists have long been advocates of the first birthday dental checkup as a way to establish a dental home for young children. But perhaps more importantly, expecting parents need to be informed about the relevance of the pregnancy period to the development of their child’s teeth.

When prospective parents discover that they will be expecting their bundle of joy, they are inundated with an overwhelming amount of information, precipitating a flurry of activity such as ultrasounds, blood tests, genetic counseling, Lamaze classes, shopping for baby clothes, and more. So, who even thinks about teeth?

When I meet with expecting moms, I bring up 5 key points. I frame them as a personal conversation, not as a lecture. Asking them “Did you know…?” and saying “Believe it or not…” grabs their attention.

Did You Know #1

You’re probably aware that when you’re pregnant, your baby is very much dependent upon you for its sustenance. So, it behooves you take good care of yourself with a proper diet and nutrition and by refraining from using alcohol and tobacco, getting proper rest, making regular visits to your obstetrician, exercising as recommended by your doctor, and so on.

Also, you should report any unusual pain or bleeding, sometimes referred to as spotting, to verify that the umbilical attachment has not been compromised. When a woman experiences difficulties during a pregnancy, they can affect the overall development of the unborn fetus, and even tooth development can be negatively affected.

Did You Know #2

Your child’s baby teeth begin to form and calcify during the first trimester of your pregnancy. By the time your baby is born, the front baby teeth are almost fully formed, and the crowns of the back baby teeth are complete. In fact, in some children, the 6-year molars (permanent teeth) have begun to form. Anything that disturbs the baby’s metabolism can cause teeth to develop discolorations or abnormal shapes and sizes. Sometimes, they may be missing altogether.

Read more via Tooth Talk for Expecting Parents | Dentistry Today