Dental Care for Pregnant Women

Pregnancy is a time when your oral health needs more attention. Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause certain problems with teeth and gums, and make treatment more complicated.

How pregnancy affects oral health

During pregnancy, hormone changes can cause swollen, bleeding, and irritated gums (gingivitis). Your gums may be very sore, and brushing and flossing may cause discomfort. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum disease called periodontitis. Severe periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

Some pregnant women also have small bright-red growths on their gums that bleed easily. These are often called “pregnancy tumors.” They are not cancer. They usually go away right after birth. Talk with your dentist or healthcare provider if you have concerns.

Keeping a healthy mouth

  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day.

  • If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water after vomiting. Do not brush your teeth right after vomiting. This can remove tooth enamel.

  • See your dentist for cleanings and checkups more often if needed. This is especially true in your second and third trimesters.

  • Ask your dentist or healthcare provider if you should use a special mouth rinse to help prevent gingivitis.

  • Tell your dentist or healthcare provider about any changes in your mouth, such as soreness or bleeding.

Safety concerns

Make sure to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant. He or she can help you stay safe. If you need to have dental X-rays during pregnancy, he or she will make sure you are fully protected. You will wear a lead apron over your belly during the X-ray process. The apron helps block radiation from the X-rays.

If you need to take medicines like antibiotics or pain relievers for dental problems, talk with your healthcare providers first. Your providers will discuss the risks and benefits of taking these during pregnancy.

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your dentist and your healthcare provider may advise that certain dental treatments wait until after you give birth.