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During pregnancy a woman is encouraged to eat nutritiously to keep both her and her unborn child healthy. Nutrition isn’t just for the baby’s growth and weight gain, but has a significant influence in the normal development of organs, bones, and teeth. Teeth begin their development between the third and sixth month of pregnancy and rely on a constant supply of vitamins, minerals, calcium, and proteins to mature into viable, functional teeth. A lack of adequate nutrition hampers the growth and development of teeth, which can impact a child’s baby and adult dentition.
Most people know that, to be exposed to a host of nutrients, a diet has to be varied and balanced. Eating colourful vegetables and fruit provides a woman with an opportunity to maximize nutrient intake and especially Vitamins A and C that play a vital role in the development of dental tissue. Dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit such as apricots supply a needed dose of vitamins that help keep mom and baby healthy.
Unlike bones that require ongoing exposure to calcium to remain strong — adult teeth do not as the enamel has finished developing and is as strong as it’s going to get. The thinking that a developing baby steals calcium from a mother’s teeth isn’t true, but calcium can be depleted from a woman’s bones – putting her at risk for osteoporosis down the road. This stealing of calcium only happens in extreme cases of nutrient deficiency and is not a concern for a mother and baby with a healthy diet. From fish, green beans, and dairy products, there are many opportunities to supply the body with a source of calcium that will help a pregnant woman remain strong and provide the building blocks of growth to her unborn baby.
Due to changes in hormone levels, a pregnant woman naturally deals with more gum inflammation and risk of dental decay. Pregnancy gingivitis is common and affects approximately half of all pregnant women. Red, swollen, puffy gums can last the length of a pregnancy and is caused by hormones that make gums hypersensitive to plaque. Increasing dental cleanings during pregnancy can minimize plaque buildups and help control gum inflammation. Controlling inflammation throughout the body can help make for an easier pregnancy and reduce the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.