Tetracycline, Pregnancy, and Oral Care.

Have you ever heard of the antibiotic called Tetracycline? It is used to treat conditions including acne and respiratory infections. What a lot of people don’t know is that if you’re taking this and you are pregnant, this antibiotic can cause certain risk factors to your child. If you take tetracycline after the fourth month of pregnancy, you can put your child’s teeth in harm. It can cause discoloration, or graying of the baby’s teeth. Because the staining forms when the baby’s teeth are developing, the discoloration is embedded in the tooth’s enamel and inner layers.  The discoloration is either gray or brown in color. They cover the entire tooth, or appear as a pattern of stripes. tetracycline discoloration develops on the teeth while they are still forming under the gum line. During the development of the baby’s teeth, the drug becomes calcified (hardens) in the tooth, generating the tooth stain. Children are susceptible to tetracycline discoloration from the time they are in utero until age 8.

Which leads me to my next point….You can never start oral care too early. If you’re an expectant mother, you can start taking care of your child’s teeth while they are in utero. Eating a variety of  healthy foods, and taking calcium supplements can help prevent decay from forming. Not only does that help with the prevention of decay, it also decreases the baby’s risk of being born with a cleft lip and palate.  When the baby is born, you can continue to help the prevention of decay. After each feeding, take a soft, damp wash cloth and gently wipe the baby’s gums. This will also decrease the baby’s risk of bacteria build up. When they reach the age of 6 months, when their teeth usually start to come in, you can take a very soft tooth-brush, and gently brush the gum lines, where the teeth form twice a day. As the children get older, parents should be brushing their teeth until they are 6 years old. This helps them develop a pattern, and routine for when they get older, and brush by themselves. You can also prevent sticky, and sweet foods from being a main part of their diet. This will help prevent cavities, and tooth decay.

 

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