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How Pregnancy Changes Your Body


What's going on: Ever heard the old saying, "Have a baby, lose a tooth?" While the calcium needed to build your baby's bones comes from your diet -- not your teeth -- your pearly whites could be at risk from pregnancy gingivitis. The malady, which affects nearly all expectant moms, crops up when dilated blood vessels leave gums swollen, tender, and less resistant to infection, explains Barbara Rich, D.D.S., a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. And since puffy gums give germs more places to hide, cavities are ten times more likely during pregnancy. Hormonal changes also make saliva more copious and odor-causing bacteria more prevalent.

What to do about it: Keep germs in check by brushing your teeth and tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush after meals and bouts of morning sickness. Floss your teeth and swish with an antimicrobial mouthwash once a day, too. Don't skip your semi-annual checkup (just be sure to let the dentist know you're pregnant, and ask her to save the dental X-rays for another visit). In fact, you may want to step up the frequency of professional cleanings, since they'll prevent gingivitis from turning into a full-blown gum infection.