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Eating for Two also means Brushing for Two

Pregnancy can cause unexpected oral health changes. The hormonal changes that occur can exaggerate the way gum tissue reacts to plaque. When plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis – red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed. If you already have gingivitis and become pregnant the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss. “Pregnancy gingivitis” affects a large number of pregnant women to some degree and general begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy. There is a link between gingivitis and pre-term delivery and/or low birth weight babies. The reason is because excessive bacteria from your swollen gums can enter into the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. When bacteria encounters the uterus it releases chemicals called prostaglandins which can induce premature labor. Dr. McCargar says that “during pregnancy it is especially important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least twice daily. More frequent dental cleanings also will help to control plaque and prevent gingivitis.” Your overall health is directly linked to your oral health, so it is especially important for you to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy and discuss your dental plan for the remainder of your pregnancy with your dentist.