Pregnancy and Your Oral Health

A pregnant lady holding her tummy.During pregnancy, it is very important to maintain good oral health care. During this time, hormonal changes can affect the health of your gums and teeth. The change in hormone levels can cause swollen gums that bleed when you brush and floss. This is called "pregnancy gingivitis". Pregnancy gingivitis usually disappears after childbirth. If it continues, contact your oral care professional.

Dental Visits during Pregnancy

  • Regular checkups and cleanings by your oral care professional are the best way to detect and prevent periodontal disease (a bacterial infection which affects the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth). It is best for you to have your dental checkup in the first or second trimester. If treatment is required, it can be done at this time.
  • If you have a dental emergency, you should see your oral care professional immediately.

At Your Dental Appointment:

  • Inform your oral care professional that you are pregnant.
  • Put off routine x-rays until after your pregnancy. However, if your dentist feels that x-rays are necessary, the dental office will provide a leaded apron for you to wear while they are taking your x-rays. This will protect both you and your baby during the procedure.
  • Avoid taking drugs or medications while pregnant. If emergency dental treatment requires you to take drugs, discuss their use with your dentist and/or physician.

To Maintain a Healthy Mouth during Pregnancy:

  • Brush at least 2 times a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and gums.
  • It is good for pregnant women to eat healthy snacks between meals so they can meet their daily nutritional needs. Try to avoid sweet snacks that are high in carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Morning sickness can leave stomach acids in your mouth. Therefore, if you vomit, rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash with fluoride (which is preferable) as soon as possible. This can help to protect your teeth.
  • Try eating dry toast or unsalted crackers before getting out of bed in the morning to help prevent morning sickness.
  • Continue to have routine dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Eat healthy and nutritious food.

Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Baby

  • The risk of having a premature or low birth weight baby may be reduced if you have healthy gums and teeth.
  • Once your baby is born, it is still important to keep your mouth clean. To do this, continue to brush and floss regularly.