Guest post by America’s ToothFairy®
Oral care starts early!
In February, we recognize National Children’s Dental Health Month. It’s a time to reflect on the importance of oral care and the lifelong effects it has on children. Protecting children’s oral health is what prompted me to write the foreword for Your Child’s Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents. It’s an excellent resource that helps parents understand how to maintain their child’s oral health from prenatal care through birth and childhood.
Early Oral Care
Some women don’t realize that what they eat—or avoid eating—during pregnancy can affect their child’s growing baby teeth. According to the book, oral defects could result from a lack of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, protein, and calories when the fetus is between fourteen weeks and four months. The book recommends that moms-to-be consume the following vitamin amounts daily:
- 1,000 milligrams of calcium to build baby’s bones and teeth.
- At least eighty milligrams of vitamin C to help the mother’s body absorb iron, a mineral that is essential in forming hemoglobin, which in turn promotes healthy cell growth and development.
- 200 international units (IU) of vitamin D to help the mother’s body absorb the necessary calcium.
Once children are born, parents must work to protect their smiles as they grow and develop. This can be especially hard for parents who lack oral health education and who cannot afford proper oral care. The National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy (NCOHF) works to educate children and families about oral health. NCOHF was formed in 2006 to aggressively respond to this crisis by providing communities with vital resources and programs to deliver life-changing educational, preventive, and treatment services to children from vulnerable populations.
In an effort to raise awareness, America’s ToothFairy is holding a Smile Drive aimed at getting vital “tools for teeth”—toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouth rinse—to at-risk youth. We’re looking for donated products and volunteers. Head on over to our website to find out how you can help.
Johns Hopkins University Press recently published Your Child’s Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents, by Evelina Weidman Sterling and Angie Best-Boss. Evelina Weidman Sterling, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an educator in the field of public health and the author of several award-winning books on health. Angie Best-Boss, R.N., is a health writer and patient advocate.