Pregnancy and the Importance of Oral Health

Dental health concept during a pregnancy

Learn why oral health is so important through your pregnancy and how you can improve your health and the dental health of your child for years to come.

Table of Contents

Why Oral Health is Important During Pregnancy?

Improving your oral health as a pregnant woman is lesser know but very important way to prevent cavities in your young children. Pregnancy may actually make women more prone to periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. Oral health should be considered an important part of prenatal care, given that poor oral health during pregnancy can lead to poor health outcomes for the mother and baby. Protect Tiny Teeth, written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, includes a helpful array of information to help create awareness that oral health should be part of a woman’s prenatal care routine, as well as tips on how pregnant women and new moms can protect their oral health and the oral health of their infants

Does Oral Health Affect Pregnancy?

The short answer is, yes. Your oral health affects your overall health no matter your age, or physical condition. Oral health is an important part of prenatal care, through the developing years of your child’s life, for both yourself and your child. During pregnancy, your oral health will directly impact your unborn child, and after birth, it is important to set a good example and encourage proper oral hygiene and dental care. 

How Does Oral Health Affect Pregnancy?

Pregnant women can be more at risk for cavities due to changes in behaviors, like new eating habits. Women with many cavity-causing bacteria during pregnancy and after childbirth can transmit these bacteria from their mouth to their baby’s mouth. Coming into contact with certain bacteria and consuming certain sugars while still young and developing can lead to dental issues such as cavities that may require more intensive care than usual. Frequent snacking or taking a bottle to bed should be avoided at all costs.

Pregnancy and Oral Health Facts:

  • 1 in 4 women of childbearing age has untreated cavities
  • Children with mothers who have untreated cavities or tooth loss are more than three times more likely to have cavities as a child
  • Kids with poor oral health are roughly three times more likely to miss school due to dental pain

What is the Proper Oral Health During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy comes with many responsibilities—and how you care for your teeth is no exception. Most routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy, but you should always inform your dentist and the receptionist which month of pregnancy you are in when scheduling your appointment.

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk or you have other medical conditions, your dentist and your physician should have a conversation and may recommend that your dental treatment be postponed until after childbirth. 

Always be sure to tell your dentist about any change in medications you take or if you have special instructions from your physician. Also, make sure to keep your dentist informed if you experience any swelling, redness, or bleeding in your mouth or gums.

6 Tips so You Can Maintain a Healthy Mouth During Pregnancy

1. Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste twice a day (ADA-approved toothpaste recommended)

2. Floss daily

3. Eat a balanced diet and snack in moderation (or not at all)

4. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups

5. For plaque control, your dentist might suggest rinsing at night with an antimicrobial mouth rinse

6. If you have morning sickness and are frequently vomiting, try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a small glass of water to prevent stomach acid from damaging your teeth

If you’re in the family planning stages or currently pregnant, there are a number of things you can start or keep doing to ensure proper dental health for yourself and your child. If you have any special circumstances, always ask your dentist for professional advice. Oh, and one more thing — Congratulations!


Oral Health During Pregnancy FAQs

The condition of the mouth, teeth, gums, and other tissues is referred to as oral health. It entails preserving good oral health, guarding against gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral issues.

Since poor dental health can result in discomfort, infection, and other major health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections, good oral health is crucial for overall health and wellbeing.

Pregnancy is a time when oral health is crucial for various reasons.It’s crucial to routinely brush and floss your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and visit the dentist for exams and cleanings if you want to keep your mouth healthy while you’re pregnant. Additionally, it’s critical to let your dentist know you’re expecting so they may take any required safety measures to protect both you and your unborn child.

  1. Hormonal changes: Pregnant women may be more susceptible to oral health issues like gum disease, which can result in tooth loss and other concerns.
  2. Infection risk: Both the mother and the baby are at higher risk of infection when they have poor oral health. Low birth weight and early birth have both been associated to gum disease.
  3. Nutrition: Proper nutrition throughout pregnancy depends on good oral health. Food digestion and eating can be hampered by oral health issues, which can result in malnutrition and other health issues.

A number of routine practices are required to maintain good dental health. Here are some crucial pointers to keep your oral health in tip-top shape:

    1. You should brush your teeth twice daily. Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time, twice daily.
    2. Brush your teeth thoroughly, making sure to cover the chewing, rear, and front surfaces. Plaque and food fragments that your toothbrush can’t reach are removed from between your teeth and underneath your gum line by flossing.
    3. Use mouthwash to refresh your breath and help fight bacteria. To help shield your teeth from cavities, it is essential to use a fluoride-containing mouthwash.

Adopting a regular dental hygiene practice and leading a healthy lifestyle are necessary for maintaining good oral health at home. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each using fluoride toothpaste is the first step to optimal oral health. The front, back, and chewing surfaces of your teeth should all be thoroughly cleaned using a toothbrush. 

Daily flossing helps to get rid of food particles and plaque that your toothbrush can’t get rid of in the spaces between your teeth and under your gum line. Additionally, mouthwash can aid in bacterial eradication and breath freshening. To help guard your teeth against cavities, choose a mouthwash containing fluoride.