Bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transmitted from a mother to her child. It is important to have mom’s teeth decay free before birth of her child. During pregnancy there will likely be hormone fluctuations that may contribute to the desire for mom to snack more frequently. Frequent snacking can contribute to the increased accumulation of dental plaque. Bacteria in dental plaque produce acid that weakens the enamel of teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day needs to receive increased emphasis during pregnancy to reduce the risk of cavities forming.
Hormone fluctuations and plaque that is not removed can irritate the gums. A condition called gingivitis may result and is characterized by red, tender gums that bleed easily. Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis. Poor periodontal health can contribute to premature delivery and low birth weight of children. It is important for mothers to practice outstanding oral hygiene and to see a dentist regularly throughout pregnancy.