A Mama’s Guide: A Healthy, Happy Smile For Baby

Being a mom is a full-time job! It is time-consuming, at times, totally physically and emotionally draining, and all at once, the most incredible and rewarding experience. There are a lot of bases to cover when your little one arrives and it doesn’t seem to slow down as they grow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when baby arrives so that they can grow up happy and healthy!


Did you know that pregnant women are at increased risk for gum infection because of hormones released during pregnancy?

Symptoms of Gum Infection:

› Chronic bad breath

› Red or swollen gums

› Tender or bleeding gums

› Painful chewing

› Loose teeth

› Sensitive teeth

Your Babies Healthy Smile Starts With You:

It is safe and healthy to visit your dental team while pregnant. Your good oral habits can help to protect your baby from early childhood tooth decay.

Morning Sickness:

Vomiting because of morning sickness leaves acid in your mouth that may weaken the protective layer on your teeth. Wait 20 –30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Prevent Gum Infection:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste) Use a non-flavored toothpaste if strong flavors and smells make you feel like vomiting.

2. Floss every day.

3. Visit the dental team for a check-up and cleaning.

4. Eat a well-balanced diet.

5. Don’t use tobacco products.

6. See your dental team if you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant to have your gums and teeth checked and treated if necessary. This helps to prevent you from passing on the bacteria that causes Early Childhood Tooth Decay to your baby.

Healthy Eating:

Eating enough and a variety of foods is important for you and your growing baby. Be sure to include good sources of calcium and vitamin D in your diet every day. These nutrients are important for healthy baby teeth.

Source of Calcium:

› Milk (fresh or made from powder),

› Fortified (calcium added) soy beverage,

› Food made with milk or fortified soy beverage, cheese, orange juice with added calcium.

Sources of vitamin D:

› The body makes vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunshine.

› Prenatal vitamins and milk (fresh or powdered),

› Fortified soy beverage and food made with milk or fortified soy beverage.

› Fatty fish, eggs, and margarine provide a little vitamin D.


Mouth Care:

› Even before teeth appear it’s important to care for your baby’s gums.

› Wipe their gums at least twice a day with a clean and damp wash washcloth

› Brushing baby’s teeth will be easier because they will be used to you working in their mouth.

› Mothers, family members, and caregivers can pass cavity-causing bacteria (germs) to infants and young children.

› Transmission of bacteria (germs) happens by saliva exchange: like testing temperature of bottles or food; tasting or sharing food, cups or utensils; by sharing toothbrushes; and even by cleaning bottle nipples or soothers in your mouth.

› Be a good role model for your child. Keeping your mouth clean every day is a good example for kids to see.

When your child eats or drinks sugars, the germs (bacteria) in your child’s mouth mix with the sugars to make a mild acid. This acid attacks the hard outer layer of teeth (also called enamel). It can make holes (or cavities) in the teeth The damage that sugars do depends on how much sugar goes into the mouth and how long it stays in the mouth. Any kind of sugar will mix with germs in the mouth. Natural sugars can have the same effect on teeth as white (or refined) sugar out of the bag! Many healthy foods contain natural sugars. Milk contains natural sugar.

Early Childhood Tooth Decay:

Children with ECTD can suffer from many problems:

› Trouble eating (which can lead to poor growth); Trouble sleeping due to pain; Learning difficulties due to pain; Repeated infections and fever; Trouble speaking due to missing teeth; Feeling bad about the way they look; Crooked adult teeth

› Some primary (or baby) teeth will be in your child’s mouth until age 12.

Major Causes of Early Childhood Tooth Decay:

› No tooth brushing (leaving cavity-causing bacteria)

› Putting baby to bed with a bottle with anything but plain water

› Staying on the bottle and sippy cup past 1 year

› Carrying bottle or sippy cup around all day

› Not removing the baby from the breast (once they have teeth) before they fall asleep

› Lack of access to dental care and prevention

› Snacking too much on sweet foods and drinks


Check your child’s teeth at least once a month for signs of decay:

› Lift the top lip and look along the gum line.

› Check behind the top front teeth using a dental mirror (available at drugstores).

› Decay looks like white, brown or discoloured areas on the teeth, often along the gum line.


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Eating Habits For Mom and Baby:

› Mom – Eat a healthy prenatal diet rich in calcium and vitamin D

› Baby: Give breastfed babies a vitamin D supplement; Feed baby a healthy diet which includes foods rich in calcium and vitamin D

Bottle and Sippy Cup:

› Do not put baby to bed with a bottle (unless it contains plain water)

› Serve unsweetened juice and other sweet drinks in a regular cup

› Wean baby off the bottle and sippy cup to a regular cup by 14 months

Mouth and Tooth Care For Mom and Baby:

› Mom – See your dentist for regular care starting early in pregnancy; Brush and floss teeth regularly.

› Baby – Brush twice a day (especially before bed) using a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste; See dentist by their first birthday.


Avoid: The Three S’s

› Sugar-rich foods: gum with sugar in it, suckers (or lollipops) and other hard candy

› Soft, sticky sweets: toffee, raisins and rolled-up fruit snacks or fruit leather.

› Starchy foods, like teething biscuits, break down to make sugars

If you do serve sweets, limit them to meals. When your child is eating a meal, there is more saliva in the mouth. This helps to wash away the sugars.

Eat: Healthy Snacks

› Carrot sticks or cheese cubes on the bottom shelf of the fridge

› Small fruits and vegetables, and small packs of nuts or seeds (provided they are safe for your child)

› Water is the best drink to have between meals.

Your job is to clean your child’s teeth, not to stop your child from having milk, juice, bread or noodles. Your child needs these foods to stay healthy.