Pregnancy and Oral Health

Rachel Ashworth

Pregnancy and Oral Health is not always discussed, but during pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes physical changes that affect every facet of her person. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) assures us that it’s a myth that “one tooth is lost for every pregnancy”, but it’s no myth that the body undergoes dramatic changes[1] It’s important to remember oral health while undergoing these changes. Not only does oral health affect the rest of your life, but it can affect your unborn baby either positively or negatively. In order to have the best pregnancy experience for both mom and baby, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Pregnant Dental Care

Notify Your Dentist

Notify your dentist of pregnancy so that treatment can be adjusted. Some procedures can be avoided during pregnancy or are done during a certain time of pregnancy to avoid certain anesthetics and pain killers.  X-rays may be taken during certain stages of the pregnancy, but dentists should be notified so that precautions can be made. You should also keep an updated list of current medications and doctor’s recommendations to present to your dentist at your visit. Depending on your conditions and medications your dentist may adjust treatment accordingly.

Keep Your Teeth Cleaned

While you should continue to schedule your regular professional cleanings during pregnancy, you must also maintain good oral hygiene habits at home. During pregnancy hormonal changes often cause pregnancy gingivitis[2] which has been linked to preterm labor and low birth-weight[3].  Gum disease and infection can be prevented by brushing your teeth three times daily, flossing once daily, and using a mouthwash regularly.

Make Nutrition a Priority

During pregnancy women experience cravings and often tend to snack throughout the day. While there’s no doubt the cravings exist, a woman doesn’t actually need to consume excessive amounts of calories. Be sure you’re getting the nutrients and vitamins recommended for pregnancy[4].  Your baby depends on your diet. He or she may not grow “baby teeth” until several months after birth, but what a mother eats during pregnancy affects the development of those teeth.

Morning Sickness Affects Your Teeth

Frequent vomiting can cause damage to your teeth’s enamel. If you are significantly sick during pregnancy and experience frequent vomiting, notify your physician. Also, rinsing the mouth with water periodically can wash away the bacteria and acid attacking the teeth. Chewing a sugar-free gum can also increase saliva production, which helps wash away the bacteria and acid in the same way.

It Doesn’t Stop After Giving Birth

After you give birth you should schedule an oral examination and continue to eat a balanced diet. You’ve taken good care of your body and your baby throughout a 40 week pregnancy, and now it is time to care for a baby outside the womb. Oral health for babies and kids is just as important as for adults, and starts at birth![5]


[1] http://www.agd.org

[2] http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/pregnancy-gingivitis-tumors

[3] http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=h&iid=325&aid=1309

[4] http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/nutrients-vitamins-pregnancy/

[5] http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/babies-and-kids

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