We all celebrate the birthdays of our children with great pomp and joy. Sometimes we spend a fortune selecting expensive gifts for them, but the real question is what gift do we give them on their actual 'birth-day'? Oh yes we have never really wondered about it! Well, how about gifting them something which would last them for a lifetime and yes which is not at all expensive, but having said that, is invaluable. Why not gift them a beautiful 'smile'! An excellent set of teeth which will enhance the value of their face throughout their life.

   The most obvious question peeking in your mind window would be 'is it possible?'. Yes it is possible ! But we need to understand how our teeth are formed, when do they start forming, what can we do to ensure the health of the tooth germ, what are the factors responsible for the same.

   Maternity is a boon,a blessing and also a responsibility. The expecting mother has to be very careful in choosing what she eats, how much she eats, whether she is getting adequate supply of nutrients or not. The baby is going to get whatever the mother chooses.

  Tooth development begins very early in the mothers womb. The first tooth begins to calcify when the fetus is just fourteen weeks old. Sometimes the mother herself is not sure of being pregnant by this time. From this time onward the dental development begins which sustains until the third molar formation is complete i.e till 18-25 years. This is the longest time taken for any organ to completely grow and develop in the human body (implying that the entire human dentition being an organ, functioning in unity and in a synchronous manner).

The most crucial period for the baby's teeth to develop is between the third and the sixth month of pregnancy. Hence the mother has to be very conscious of her diet during this time as it may affect the developing teeth. The mother should hence consume food containing adequate nutrients especially calcium, proteins, phosphorous, and vitamins A,C and D. 

    It is a widely believed myth that the baby requirement of calcium is met by extracting calcium from mothers teeth, and hence the mothers teeth are weakened. The baby's calcium load has to be fulfilled by the mother through her diet. Her teeth have got no role to play as far as the supply of calcium is concerned for the baby. If the mother's diet is deficient in calcium it would be obtained from her bone reserves and not from her teeth. Thumbs rule say that at least three servings of dairy products should suffice the calcium requirement of the mother and the baby.But it is best to discuss this with your obstetrician as many pregnant ladies require additional calcium pills too, which are prescribed by your obstetrician.     

      Due to the hormonal changes occurring in the mothers body, there may be episodes of binge eating, and the tendency towards gum infections and caries may be increased. Hence every pregnant woman should take good care of her teeth. A detailed discussion of how its done would follow in forthcoming blogs. 

     As for giving the baby beautiful teeth the mother should take care of her diet and it is best to eat nutritious, well balanced meals from each of the major food groups:

  - grains and whole grains

  - vegetables

  - fruits

  - milk products

  - eggs, nuts, poultry, fish

     Try and resist the urge to snack continuously and if at all you want to snack please do so with foods beneficial for your baby like dairy products, fruits, vegetables. Consult your dietitian to choose the best diet plan for you.

    Just with little care you can gift the most precious thing to your most precious one ! A beautiful smile is in the making !