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Scientists have made connections between gum (periodontal) disease and a number of conditions, including heart problems and diabetes.
However, most people are not aware that periodontal diseases could have an impact on pregnancy.
According to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, bacteria commonly associated with gum disease have been found in the amniotic fluid of some pregnant women, particularly those at risk if premature labor.
The researchers noted that while there a number of reasons why a woman may be considered at-risk for premature labor, past studies have shown a relationship between adverse pregnancy outcomes and periodontal diseased.
Dentists at the Mayo Clinic recommend that anyone planning to get pregnant should a visit a dentist first and take care of any tooth decay or gum disease before they conceive.
"By taking care of your dental health you eliminate any chance of passing on bacteria to your unborn child or ending up in the delivery room for a premature birth," a statement from the clinic reads.
Dr Kim Boggess told KTIV that brushing, flossing and regular check-ups are steps that women should take before and during pregnancy, if they do not already. She also noted that hormone changes can make gums more susceptible to bleeding and disease.
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