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A child's dental care really starts with his or her mother's healthy pregnancy, because baby teeth begin to form before birth. If you are pregnant, eat a balanced, nutritious diet and be sure to get enough vitamins and minerals. Pregnant women should have a complete dental exam and have any cavities or gum disease treated. For more information, see the topic Pregnancy.
After birth, good nutrition plays a role in your baby's dental health, especially if you are breast-feeding. Even before teeth break through the gum (erupt), you can build good dental health habits:
Your baby's first tooth usually erupts at about 6 months. Many babies experience some discomfort during teething and may be fussy. For more information, see the topic Teething.
Keep your child away from cigarette smoke (secondhand smoke). Tobacco smoke may contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.1
CitationsAmerican Dental Association (2009). ADA policy on cigarettes and other tobacco products . Available online: http://www.ada.org/news/929.aspx.
Last Revised: January 7, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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