Although your child has not even been born, there are things that you can do while pregnant they may help reduce your child’s risk for dental decay. Good oral health during pregnancy is important for children to develop “strong” teeth. Many studies now have linked a parent’s “oral health” with a child’s risk of developing cavities. Such things as active decay, poor oral hygiene, or poor diet can affect developing baby teeth in the fetus. Things such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or stress can also have affects on the developing baby teeth. It is important for parents to maintain a good diet and excellent oral health during pregnancy to help insure that their child’s teeth develop normally.
It is also important once your child is born to help minimize the transmission of pathogenic bacteria from parent to child. Those parents with poor oral health, or active decay are now encouraged to not share cups, toothbrushes, or pacifiers. These are all methods by which parents can transmit an active decay process from their mouth to their child’s oral cavity.
Many new studies have shown that parents that use chlorohexidine rinses or chew gum with Xyltiol, can reduce their own bacterial levels, and have a lower chance of transmitting pathogenic bacteria to their children. If you are pregnant, or have a newborn child, please ask your dentist about these alternatives.