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Dental Health During Pregnancy

Taking good care of your teeth and gums is important during pregnancy, when you're more susceptible to dental problems.

Pregnant women are more prone to tooth decay (dental caries), bleeding gums, and chronic gum infection (periodontal disease). Poor dental health not only affects you, but can also have an impact on your baby. Studies have linked infection of the gums in pregnant women to premature birth, and if a woman has ongoing tooth decay after the birth, her baby may acquire bacteria directly from her saliva, leading to tooth decay in the child later on. It's therefore important that you take care of your teeth during pregnancy and visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly.

To keep your mouth healthy during pregnancy, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss every day. Routine dental treatment and some local anesthetics are safe in pregnancy, although it's better to postpone elective dental treatments until after pregnancy or take care of them before pregnancy. Many women worry about having their teeth x-rayed in pregnancy. The radiation exposure from dental X-rays is minimal and the risk to your baby probably negligible. However, dentists will take every precaution to minimize your radiation exposure, covering you with a leaded apron before the X-rays.

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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