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Paula Kashtan

Q&A: Seeing The Dentist Before Getting Pregnant?

I've heard it's good to see the dentist before I get pregnant. Why?

There are a few good reasons to pay your dentist a visit. First, periodontal disease is linked to preterm and underweight babies. Thanks to prostaglandin (a chemical found in oral bacteria that can induce labor), women with periodontal disease could be seven times more likely to have a too-small preemie. Catch and treat this condition before getting pregnant, and you'll avoid major potential problems.

It's also smart to see the dentist because, quite simply, pregnancy does strange stuff to your teeth and mouth. Pregnancy gingivitis — marked by swelling, bleeding, redness and soreness — hits about half of all women. Your dentist can prepare you for what to expect, let you know what's normal and what isn't, and make sure your mouth is in as good shape as possible before your hormones get really crazy.

More from the American Academy of Periodontology