Prenatal care can range from blood tests to exercise, but in light of a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, perhaps it should also include more vitamin D to reduce the chance of tooth cavities when the baby becomes a toddler.
Because tooth enamel begins developing in the womb, researchers looked at vitamin D levels in more than 200 pregnant women from an economically disadvantaged urban area and compared them to the number of cavities that their children had when they became toddlers. Researchers analyzed the women's vitamin D levels during their second or third trimesters of pregnancy. When the babies turned about 16 months old, the researchers revisited the toddlers to examine their teeth. The toddlers whose mothers had low prenatal vitamin D levels had more cavities.
After the release of this study, you might think that doctors will recommend vitamin D supplements more often during prenatal care, but it's too early to tell. Doctors generally have been split on taking vitamin D pills during pregnancy. Some doctors believe vitamin D supplements should be recommended to expecting mothers and their levels should be tested during pregnancy. But others shy away from recommending additional supplements during pregnancy, instead choosing to encourage mothers to stimulate vitamin D production naturally by spending more time in the sun and eating certain foods, such as mushrooms and eggs.
Either way, talk to your OB/GYN about this new study to see how it might affect you and your unborn child. Perhaps a few extra supplements during pregnancy could keep your child away from the dentist's drill a bit longer.