With mother's day approaching, the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued a reminder to moms-to-be that it is particularly important during pregnancy to maintain good oral health.
The organization notes that previous research has revealed that maternal gum disease could be linked to early labor and low birth weight babies. It has also been suggested that pregnant women with gum disease are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
It recommends that women who are expecting should visit the dentist regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between their teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner.
Dr Sally Cram, an ADA consumer advisor and periodontist, said: "Pregnancy often causes food cravings and constant snacking on sugary food and beverages can lead to a build-up of dental plaque in addition, the rising hormone levels that accompany pregnancy can irritate gums already battling plaque."
She added that women should inform their dentist in they are pregnant and continue to visit as normal.
A recent report from the Children Now Oral Health Policy Brief found that 18 percent of premature births in Stanislaus County, California, were attributable to poor oral health in the mother.
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