Mother and Baby

Do I need to see my dentist during pregnancy?
Yes, every six months as a matter of routine. However, due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, some womens' dental health requires closer attention during this period of time, for instance, you may notice that your gums appear to bleed more easily. Your dentist will be able to answer any concerns you may have.
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Is dental treatment safe during pregnancy?
Yes. There should be no problems with routine dental care, however, as with many other medical areas, treatment is best left until after the birth whenever possible. Many dentists advise leaving replacement of amalgam fillings until after the baby is born.
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Does pregnancy cause damage to teeth?
No. There is no truth in the rumours of calcium deficiency due to pregnancy or loosing one tooth per child.
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What about diet during pregnancy?
Some women experience morning sickness which may make them want to eat 'little and often'. Try to avoid sugary foods, as it is always important to watch what you eat and drink and how often. A balanced diet, eaten at regular meal times, can improve both your general health and dental health.
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Will my baby need fluoride supplements?
Fluoride does help to strengthen teeth. However, as fluoride can be naturally found in some water supplies, it is important to ask your dentist if supplements are necessary in your case. If they are, supplements can start at about 6 months.
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When should I take my baby to the dentist for the first time?
It is advisable that you discuss this with your dentist first, but your baby could accompany you on your own routine check-up, as this can help the baby to become familiar with the surroundings. Your dentist will be able to offer advice and prescribe medicines for teething pains, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. The baby's own check-ups can start at about 6 months.
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When will my baby's teeth appear?
Your baby will start teething at about 6 months and will continue until all 20 'milk teeth' are present at about 2 years. 'Second teeth' usually develop between 6 and 14 years.
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Is teething painful?
Most children do suffer teething pains to some extent. Gels may be applied by the finger gently massaging the baby's gums, although this can be difficult due to the amount of saliva in the baby's mouth caused through teething. Certain teething rings can be cooled in the fridge which may help but, as teething pains can vary, it is best to check with your dentist.
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Can thumb sucking or dummy sucking affect baby's teeth?
If this happens continuously over a number of years, the tooth alignment can be affected and corrective techniques, such as orthodontics, may be required when the baby is older.
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What about baby's diet?
If breast-feeding, try to keep your baby to routine feeds. If not, ensure that any foods and drinks which contain sugars are kept to feed times only.

DON'T dip your baby's dummy or teething ring into fruit syrups or fruit juices, or give anything containing sugars before bedtime. These can expose your baby's teeth to harmful acids, which can attack the newly formed teeth and cause decay.

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When should I start cleaning my baby's teeth?
Babies are obviously not able to clean their own teeth, and will be unable to clean them effectively until about the age of 6 years. Until this time they will need help. You should first start cleaning your child's teeth once teething has started.

As so much time will be taken up looking after your baby, it is important that you remember to take the time to look after your own teeth.

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How should I clean my baby's teeth?
First, position yourself behind your child and cradle their head with one hand - use a small, soft nylon bristle toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste containing fluoride, and gently massage around the teeth and gums. As the child grows older it may be difficult to use this technique but, gradually, more responsibility for cleaning teeth can be given to the child. Until they can do so themselves, it is important that you clean their teeth thoroughly at least once a day.
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What if my baby damages a tooth?
In the event of any accidents or damage to the teeth, contact you dentist immediately.

If this occurs outside normal opening hours, your dentist will have emergency cover arrangements. Contact the surgery to find out who to call.

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 Information from the British Dental Health Foundation.