One evening a young mother was helping her beautiful four-year-old daughter brush her teeth as part of their regular nighttime routine. The mother noticed four dark spots on her daughter’s teeth, one in the same place on each of her four canines. She then commandeered control of the toothbrush and set to scrub away the spots, but the spots weren’t going anywhere. Upon closer inspection, they appeared to be spots of decay…could they be cavities?
The next day, their pediatric dentist confirmed her fears; these spots were indeed cavities. The young mother was horrified. How on earth had she let that happen? Was she a terrible mother? To her surprise, the dentist told her that these were not formed by her neglect and in fact, those teeth had formed in the gums during pregnancy. The fact that the spots formed on all four canines told him that the fetus had gone through some type of trauma while these teeth were forming enamel in utero. In such instances, the fetus stops developing and throws all its energy into surviving. Had she been sick or taken any medicines while pregnant? She then remembered she had had a pretty bad case of the flu about midway through her pregnancy with a high fever. The dentist said that could have caused it, but there was no way to be sure. There was no real harm done. He filled the cavities and was able to save the baby teeth.
The young mother was dumbfounded. Although she had never really given it any thought, she assumed the baby teeth formed in the gums after birth. After a little research, she was amazed to find that by the sixth week after conception, the baby teeth are beginning to form and by eight weeks, the tooth buds of all of the primary (baby) teeth can be seen. Even more amazing is the fact that by twenty weeks, the tooth buds of permanent teeth start to develop.
So if you’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant, the earlier you start to take care of yourself the better. Developing teeth need certain nutrients to grow properly; if you don’t get them through your diet, your baby won’t receive them either. Discuss your diet with your obstetrician to make sure you are getting enough calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D, and folic acid. Likewise, you’ll have to watch your intake of substances that could harm your teeth in utero, such as certain antibiotics.
Also during pregnancy, you need more than ever to pay attention to your own dental care. If you find that you need a dentist during this time, give Apple Dental a call. We know exactly what we can and cannot do to keep your precious cargo safe and healthy. Give us a call, and we will give you all the TC and pampering we can!