Another reason to (care for your) smile.

Wacky cravings. Morning sickness. Bionic sense of smell. Every mom-to-be knows the side effects that come with being pregnant. But did you know that pregnancy can affect your oral health as well? Here’s what to expect (for your mouth) when you’re expecting:

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy can exaggerate the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque, increasing your risk for gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. To prevent “pregnancy gingivitis,” take extra care and time brushing and flossing.
  • Studies suggest a link between preterm, low-birth-weight babies and gum disease. To reduce the risk of gum disease, pay special attention to the gum line while brushing, use fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once a day.
  • Dental disease can be passed to your baby, so schedule a general cleaning (prophylaxis) within the first trimester and try to schedule any necessary dental work before the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. Your dentist may also suggest more frequent cleanings during your pregnancy.
  • Some women also experience “pregnancy tumors,” or overgrowths of gum tissue, during their second trimester. These are red growths related to excess plaque that are usually found between the teeth. Regular flossing and good oral care will help reduce your risk of developing these overgrowths.
  • Once your child is born, continue to practice good oral health habits by brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day and visiting the dentist every six months. Avoid passing cavity-causing bacteria to your baby by not sharing utensils and never licking pacifiers to clean them.

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