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Protect Your Baby's Health

MomDid you know your oral hygiene habits may affect your baby's health? Some studies have shown that women with gum (periodontal) disease may be up to 7.5 times more likely to have a pregnancy complication.¹ As many as 18% of the 250,000 premature low birth weight infants born in the United States each year may be attributed to infectious oral disease.²

Premature and underweight babies are more likely to have long-term health problems than babies who are born at the right time. Many babies do not survive, and those who do may face a number of serious health problems. Practicing good oral hygiene habits now may protect your baby from health problems later.

How can gum disease affect my pregnancy?

Gum disease occurs when certain bacteria in the mouth infect the gums. Your gums may become tender, red, and even bleed. If left untreated, this infection may lead to tooth loss. Meanwhile, the bacteria in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream, potentially harming your unborn baby.

How can I protect my baby?

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral health habits:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal
  • Floss daily
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and examinations

If you become pregnant and haven’t seen a dentist in six months, make an appointment to see your dentist right away. Diagnosing and treating gum disease now may reduce health risks to your baby later. And your baby’s health is worth it!

This information is also available as a downloadable flyer in our Oral Health Flyers section.


Learn more about the connection between oral health and overall health:

1 Bobetsis YA, Barros SP, Off enbacher S. Exploring the relationship between periodontal disease and pregnancy complications. J Am Dent Assoc. 2006 Oct;137 Suppl 2:7S-13S.
2 National Institutes of Health, Children’s Dental Health Project, 9-09.


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