Women who are pregnant frequently suffer from gingivitis - as many as 70% experience a mild form of gum disease during the pregnancy, but women who allow the condition to escalate to periodontal disease are three to five times as likely to give birth prematurely. Furthermore, expectant mothers with poor oral health often have children who also have a higher risk of developing gum disease or tooth decay. The bacteria which cause periodontal disease and contribute to heart conditions can also influence birth weight and generally lead to an unhealthy child. Dental hygiene is of utmost importance before, during, and after pregnancy especially when lactating because bacteria from the mother’s bloodstream can enter her milk and have a negative impact on the health of her child. If a pregnant woman experiences red or swollen gums, especially accompanied by bleeding during brushing and flossing, she should immediately seek an appointment with her dentist in order to assure that gum disease does not develop or escalate and does not cause her to enter premature labor. Expectant patients, like all others are strongly advised to brush at least twice a day, preferably after every meal, floss daily, and schedule regular check-ups with their dentists.