”Mother’s dental health affects her overall health and her baby’s health.”

Emobileclinic Health News

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Emobileclinic Reporter: Femi Fayomi

A child’s dental health begins at the time of conception, says an expert who recommends mothers-to-be visit the dentist before, during and after pregnancy. William Wathen, an associate Professor at Baylor College of Dentistry, Texas A&M University inferred that “the mother’s dental health affects her overall health and her baby’s health. Statistically, mothers with poor oral health are at risk for premature and underweight births.”

“Mothers-to-be need to realize controlling plaque and limiting high-starch and sugary foods are crucial,” Wathen added. “Cavities are ‘contagious,’ because germs in the mother’s mouth will be in a baby’s mouth. Since babies are not born with their own oral flora, they adapt it soon after they are born from their family,” he says.

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He was of the opinion that as soon as the baby is born, parents should massage their baby’s gums with their little finger, a small, soft cloth or a rubber fingertip toothbrush. This gets babies used to having objects in their mouth other than the nipple. He said “if parents are consistent with this action, it will prevent most fussing and fretting when the infant is eventually taken to the dentist. You should do this a few times a day for no more than two or three seconds”.

With the appearance of baby’s first teeth, usually around 6 months of age, Williams suggested the use a soft cloth to remove plaque from their surfaces at least twice a day, especially before and after feedings and before bedtime. He added that “at first, just wet the toothbrush and massage their teeth gently,” because, according to him, “infant toothpastes are safe to use, fluoridated toothpaste should not be used until the child is old enough to spit it out – normally around 3 to 4 years of age.” Also, parents should brush their children’s teeth until youngsters are old enough to do it themselves, at around 7 or 8 years old.

The baby’s first visit to the dentist should occur between ages 6 months and 1 year, followed by dental checkups every six months, he noted. “It’s important for both dental health experts and parents to work together to instill good dental habits in children. Kids do what their parents do, and you should always let your child be part of your own effective oral health routine.”


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Texas A&M University News’ release dated 30th March, 2016.

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