When pregnant, it can be difficult trying to remember everything you should do to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby. What to eat? What to stay away from? What chemicals should you use, and which ones should you avoid? Since January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, why not consider a few new ways you can stay healthy throughout your pregnancy? No matter if your child is born in perfect health or requires some additional developmental help along the way, find out how a special needs dentistry in Poway will be there for you when the time comes.
What Can Cause Birth Defects?
During your pregnancy, you probably find yourself holding your breath at each doctor’s visit, hoping for good news that everything is moving and progressing as it should. After all, birth defects can develop for a variety of reasons, some of which are completely out of your control. In order to understand how to prevent them (as best you can), you must first have a better grasp of what causes birth defects in the first place. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Genetics: If you or your partner have genes that change or mutate in a way that prevents the gene from working properly, this can cause birth defects. The same can be said for those that are fully or partially missing.
- Problems with Chromosomes: If all or part of a chromosome is missing, or if the child has an extra chromosome, these can cause Turner’s syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, or Down syndrome.
- Infections: While the first two are out of your control, if you get an infection during pregnancy, your child is at a much higher risk for birth defects. One example that was quite common a few years ago was the Zika virus that led to microcephaly, a defect of the brain and skull causing them to be smaller than normal.
- Medication or Chemical Exposure: Not all, but some medications can put your baby at an increased risk for birth defects. Also, exposure to rubella or toxic chemicals can make them much more likely to develop.
Tips to Staying Healthy While Pregnant
While most women know not to eat an overabundance of sugar, drink alcohol, or smoke during pregnancies, there are other tips and considerations that should be taken to ensure your baby is as healthy as can be, such as:
- Eat a well-balanced diet – The food you eat can affect your baby’s development, including their teeth, which start to form between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. It is necessary to consume enough nutrients, especially vitamins A, C, and D, as well as protein, calcium, and phosphorous. Your diet should consist of foods such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and plenty of leafy greens.
- Drink plenty of water – Water, especially that which contains fluoride, will help keep you hydrated and protect your teeth from tooth decay as well as strengthen tooth enamel.
- Incorporate folic acid – This important dietary supplement can reduce the risk of birth defects and can be found in over-the-counter pills or gummies as well as in various foods, including broccoli, leafy green vegetables, strawberries, bananas, and even pasta and white rice.
You will be surprised how the above-mentioned tips can benefit your child’s future teeth and overall health. As they grow and prepare to see a children’s dentist in Poway, you will have set them up on a path to better dental health as a result.
Special Needs Dentistry: What Is It?
Even if you take all the necessary precautions and follow your doctor’s guidelines and instructions, complications can still occur during pregnancy, resulting in your child experiencing developmental delays, behavioral impairments, sensory concerns, and even genetic disorders. As your child grows, it is likely you will begin the search for a dental professional who can address their individual needs. By choosing a pediatric dentist in Poway who offers special needs dentistry, you will find that you and your child will receive the care they need.
About the Author
Dr. Sambath “Dr. Sam” Tiep completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Southern California’s Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. She then went on to complete a General Practice Residency at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center. She also finished the Pediatric Dentistry Program at Interfaith Medical Center. Board-certified through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, she takes great pride in making sure your little one is safe and cared for during their visit. Offering special needs dentistry, Dr. Sam will help your child achieve lifelong oral health. To learn more about our services, visit our website or call (858) 943-0750.