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Dental Health and Pregnancy

Article | July 2018

Dental Health and Pregnancy: What to Know

When you’re pregnant, your oral health is important for both you and the health of your baby. Find out how your dental health is affected, why you should continue to see your dentist while pregnant, and how you can safely get the dental care you need.

Can I go to the dentist while pregnant?

Yes, you can still go to the dentist while pregnant. In fact, routine dental exams and teeth cleanings can help keep your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy so you can avoid some common dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Make sure you let your dentist know in advance of an appointment that you’re pregnant and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Your dentist along with your obstetrician will determine the dental treatment you may need depending on the trimester.

How does pregnancy affect oral health?

Pregnancy increases the hormones in your body. Hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can affect oral health. Here are some common dental health problems and symptoms you might experience during pregnancy:

  • Increased risk for gum disease, including gingivitis
  • Tooth decay related to acid from morning sickness
  • Painful or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath

Some pregnant women experience no change at all in their oral health. For others, sensitivities arise and dental problems can worsen.

If you experience any of these dental problems during pregnancy, talk to your dentist, doctor, and obstetrician.

How does my oral health affect my baby during pregnancy?

There is research that shows women with gum disease may be at greater risk of giving birth to a baby that is preterm or has a low birth weight.1 That’s why it is important to continue to see your dentist during pregnancy for oral exams and cleanings.

How can I take care of my oral health during pregnancy?

Follow these tips to help maintain a healthy mouth while pregnant:2

  • Focus on eating a balanced diet
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a glass of water to counteract the effect of stomach acid on your teeth, due to morning sickness with vomiting
  • Suffering from morning sickness with vomiting? If so, stomach acid can affect the enamel on your teeth. To help counteract this, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a glass of water
  • See your dentist for routine cleanings and exams

Remember, dental health during pregnancy is important. Your dentist and your obstetrician can help determine what dental care you need depending on your trimester.

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This information is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Always consult your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing and care recommendations.

1American Academy of Periodontology, “Expectant Mothers’ Periodontal Health Vital to Health of her Baby.” www.perio.org/consumer/AAP_EFP_Pregnancy. Accessed October 31, 2017.

2American Dental Association, “Healthy Habits.” www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy/healthy-habits.