Dental Care During Pregnancy
It's important to take care of your body when you are pregnant. This includes your teeth and gums. A healthy mouth—and good dental habits—will help you and your baby.
Taking care of your teeth while you are pregnant helps prevent cavities and other dental problems. Brush, floss, and try to limit sugary foods and drinks. Getting the right vitamins and nutrients is good for your baby's teeth, which begin to form before birth. And remember that it's safe—and a good idea—to visit the dentist during your pregnancy.
Noticing changes in your mouth
- Some changes in your mouth during pregnancy are normal and should go away after your baby is born.
- You have more blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums when you are pregnant. This may cause bleeding in your gums, especially when you brush your teeth.
- Your gums may be more swollen and tender than usual. Try using a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Your teeth might feel a little loose. This usually does not cause any problems and goes away after pregnancy.
- If you have morning sickness or digestive problems like reflux, stomach acid in your mouth can weaken your teeth. This may make them feel more sensitive and makes cavities more likely. Regular brushing can help. Keep brushing gently, even if your teeth feel more sensitive or your gums bleed.
Caring for your teeth
- Keep brushing your teeth twice a day and try to floss once a day. It's fine to use toothpaste with fluoride in it while you are pregnant. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.
- If you gag when brushing, try using a toothbrush with a smaller head or toothpaste that doesn't foam when you brush.
- Eat a balanced, nutritious diet and get the right amount of vitamins and minerals. You may have cravings for sugary snacks and drinks, but too much sugar can lead to cavities.
- If you have reflux or morning sickness, rinse out your mouth. Try rinsing with a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Wait at least 20 minutes before brushing. You might also ask your doctor if you can take over-the-counter medicine for reflux. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Do not smoke when you are pregnant or allow others to smoke around you. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Regular visits to your dentist during pregnancy are important to prevent problems.
- Tell your dentist that you are pregnant.
- Dental X-rays and local anesthesia are generally safe during pregnancy.
- Most dental work can be done while you are pregnant. If you go to the dentist during the second or third trimesters, you may be more comfortable sitting in a different position in the dental chair.
- Delaying dental care can make a problem worse.
Current as of: February 23, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine