How Can Your Teeth Affect Your Baby?

Are you or is someone you know pregnant? The summer months always bring plenty of beautiful babies, but expectant mothers could be putting their offspring in jeopardy before they are even born. According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAP), mothers with gum disease have a higher instance of preterm birth, a potentially serious pregnancy complication that may cause health concerns for their infant, typically due to a low birth weight.

Because of changing hormones, pregnant women are more susceptible to gingivitis. In fact, pregnancy gingivitis is found in almost half of all pregnant women. Usually, when monitored and treated, pregnancy gingivitis goes away shortly after the child is born. When left untreated though, it can progress into periodontitis, which has been linked to preterm birth. YOU ARE SEVEN TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GO INTO PRETERM LABOR IF YOU HAVE PERIODONTAL DISEASE.
Pregnant woman brushing teeth

What Can You Do?

• Talk to your dentist about the correct brushing and flossing methods. Something as simple as this can greatly reduce plaque and in turn, help prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
• Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste during pregnancy and use an over-the-counter alcohol-free fluoride rinse to help reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth.
• Try to stay away from foods with large amounts of sugar. This is the easiest way to help prevent plaque build up.
• Get existing tooth decay treated by your dentist. This will help achieve oral health by removing the bacteria associated with tooth decay.
• Chew lots of (xylitol) gum! Research shows that chewing xylitol gum four times a day can decrease the rate of tooth decay.