The condition of a mom-to-be’s teeth and gums can influence her pregnancy—and her baby’s dental health. Researchers at New York University found that women with gum disease are at higher risk for gestational diabetes, and a small Chilean study recently discovered gum-disease bacteria in the amniotic fluid of women threatened with premature labor.
Meanwhile, the biggest predictor of cavities in 3-year-olds is whether a child was exposed to plaque-producing bacteria before age 1; moms are the most common source of exposure, through sharing spoons, for example. In the month before your due date, reduce mouth bacteria by chewing gum with at least 67 percent xylitol (such as Spry or Xylichew) twice daily for one minute after a meal. See your dentist regularly and floss three times daily throughout pregnancy to keep bacteria at bay.
So what else can you do to have a healthy baby? Check out our Pregnancy A-Z guide. And doctors say Healthy Teeth Cut Preterm Labor Risk, so be sure to brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day.