Washington: The oral health of pregnant women affects their child`s future oral health and even overall health, research shows.
"Ideally, the oral health education for any family will begin with prenatal education and the establishment of a dental home by the time the child is 12 to 18 months of age," says Tegwyn Brickhouse, study author.
"Many people don`t realise that the oral health of the mother affects both the infant`s future oral health and the child`s overall health," adds Brickhouse, an associate professor in paediatric dentistry at Virginia Commonwealth University.
"In fact, some studies show that periodontal disease has been linked to preterm labour. That`s why pregnant women should be evaluated for cavities, poor oral hygiene, gingivitis, loose teeth and diet," he says.
An understanding of oral hygiene can help parents to prevent tooth decay and create a lifetime of healthy habits for their child.
After the child is born, families should become familiar with their child`s dental and oral health milestones, which will be determined by discussion with the family dentist or a paediatric dentist.
In addition to eliminating sugary drinks altogether from a child`s diet, parents can adopt other habits to prevent tooth decay due to beverage consumption.
"Parents should avoid giving their children formula milk, juice or soda at naptime or nighttime," says Bruce DeGinder, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
"The sugars will linger on their teeth and gums for a prolonged period of time, promoting decay," says DeGinder, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University release.
The findings were published in the May issue of General Dentistry.