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Preventing Premature Births by Taking Care of Your Gums

Collaboration with other health professionals who take care of pregnant patients is important.  In consideration of the “whole” patient, we can’t forget the value dentists bring and the impact of oral health on pregnancy.  – Dr. Valerie Jones, OB/GYN,

 This article is written by Dr. Amanda Tavoularis ( 

Pregnancy is one of the great joys of a woman’s life. There’s so much to do and prepare for that unfortunately many pregnant women tend to neglect their dental care. This is bad for the mother, but also bad for the child as gum disease or gingivitis is linked to health complications and even premature birth. A report by the CDC says that up to 75% of all pregnant women will develop gingivitis at some point during their pregnancy. With the risk of premature birth, this is a serious situation that all expecting mothers should consider.

As a practicing dentist for the past 20 years, I’m here to help you keep your mouth healthy. By working with countless pregnant women over my career, I’ve been able to put together a list of top tips to keep your mouth and gums healthy during your pregnancy.

Healthy Habits at Home

It all starts at home; having a good dental routine at home is the first step to combating gum disease. Of course, you should focus on brushing twice a day, but you should also floss once per day and use an antimicrobial mouthwash. This routine will help protect your mouth from bacteria.

You also want to make sure your diet is low in sugary foods. Sugar creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, so the less you eat the less likely you are to develop any sort of infection. Focus on having a healthy, balanced diet and cut out as much sugar as you can.

Keep Going to the Dentist

It’s also very important to make sure you continue to visit your dentist regularly during your pregnancy. If you do develop any sort of dental related issues, your dentist can prescribe a healthy treatment for you. The sooner you address any oral health problems the better as it gives less time for the infection or bacteria to spread.

A dental visit is also the best way to get a truly clean mouth. Only a dentist is going to be able to remove any built-up plaque and bacteria in your mouth. A professional cleaning is a great way to keep your teeth and gums from becoming infected in the first place.

Seek Treatment Immediately

If your dentist recommends treatment, it’s important to schedule that treatment as early as medically possible. Most doctors will recommend having any dental procedures done during the second trimester. Getting any recommended work done is important to prevent any birth complications.

A gum infection, if left untreated, can eventually spread to your bloodstream. This can then travel to your placenta and uterus, and ultimately may cause harm to the pregnancy.  That’s why it’s so important to keep your mouth healthy, for both you and your child.

Having a healthy mouth is always important and it becomes even more so during pregnancy. The repercussions of being lax in your dental care are serious for both you and your child. That’s why it’s important to take these tips seriously, and implementing them into your life is taking you one step closer to a happy birth.

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