If you have ever been pregnant or knew someone that was, you know there is a long list of health woes and issues to manage -- nutrition, exercise, weight gain, blood pressure -- and oral health makes that list as well. Pregnant women are more prone to what is called "pregnancy gingivitis." This is a mild form of gum disease usually associated with swollen gums, possible bleeding or irritation. Increased focus on good teeth brushing helps with pregnancy gingivitis and being pregnant is never an excuse to skip a professional dental cleaning [source: American Academy of Periodontology].
But gingivitis can be the beginning of full-blown periodontal disease, and that can cause more than just irritation or discomfort. There have been studies showing links between women who have chronic gum disease and premature births, or preterm/low birthweight (PLBW) babies. One study published in The Journal of Periodontology on 450 women found that of those with untreated gum disease, a staggering 79 percent delivered early or had babies with low birth weights. Compare this to a low 4.1 percent of women with healthy gums who had PLBW babies [source: American Academy of Periodontology]. Other studies have supported these findings, emphasizing the correlation between healthy gums and healthy babies.
If your ears haven't perked up yet, they will now since most of us could stand to lose a few pounds. Brushing your teeth can help!