Many women start taking better care of themselves when they’re pregnant, from taking certain vitamins to quitting cigarettes. It may not occur to them, however, to improve their oral hygiene routine; yet this could make for a safer pregnancy and healthier baby.
According to research presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology earlier this year, a woman’s oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and amniotic fluid, and consequently, into the womb. This kind of bacteria, which the researchers found in the gastric aspirates of newborns, can lead to premature contractions or delivery, low birth weight, or infections in the infant.
If you’re pregnant, now is not the time to shirk oral hygiene. You can help both yourself and your baby by being stringent about brushing your teeth, as well as visiting your dentist for a cleaning when he or she says it’s OK (usually during the second trimester). These easy steps can make a surprisingly positive difference in the safety of your pregnancy.
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