Pregnant? Here’s What You Should Know About Your Oral Health 

During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a host of hormonal and physical changes. While oral health is not the most obvious area affected by childbearing, the truth is, even the teeth are impacted by such a change. 

Today, we’ll look into exactly how pregnancy and oral health are related, and see how moms can better protect their dental health and the health of the precious cargo they carry.  

How Pregnancy Affects Mom 

It would be nice to say that pregnancy magically strengthens a mother’s teeth, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. The ADA states that pregnancy heightens the risks of multiple conditions, including: 


During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause the body to have a more extreme reaction to bacteria than normal. If left unchecked, this condition can escalate to a mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis. The CDC estimates that nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. Not all of these cases are necessarily induced by pregnancy; however, pregnancy may certainly cause some and worsen others.  


A variety of circumstances that may result from pregnancy raise a woman’s risk for cavities. Increased amounts of junk food or snacking because of cravings, dry mouth, hormonal changes, and poor oral health due to nausea and vomiting can all affect your mouth.

Enamel Erosion

Many women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This common occurrence is tough on enamel, as it exposes the teeth to strong stomach acid. The acid eats away at healthy enamel, leading to erosion and decay.


How Mom Affects Baby 

Oral health during pregnancy doesn’t just affect the mother. So far, we’ve been asking the question of what pregnancy does to a mother’s oral health—but what about what the mother’s oral health does for the baby’s health?  

Surprisingly, research shows that they are linked. The National Library of Medicine conducted a study that examined what they called “periodontal pathogens” and preterm birth. While the link couldn’t always be explained, it was clear that infections like periodontal disease (gum disease) can be linked to preterm labor. Some studies even conclude that periodontal disease increases one’s risk for preterm labor. 

We’ve already noted that pregnancy increases a woman’s risk for cavities—but research shows that the bacteria can be passed on to the child through pregnancy and after birth as well. Clearly, the oral health of the mother has a significant impact on that of the child, even before they are born.  

What About Dental Treatment During Pregnancy? 

Many women may be understandably concerned about receiving dental treatment during pregnancy for fear of causing harm to their unborn child. The good news is, with modern technology, it is safe to proceed as normal in many dental situations, even while carrying a child. According to the ADA, both local anesthetic with epinephrine as well as dental radiographs (x-rays) are safe for pregnant women. The ADA also explains that urgent dental treatments can be managed at any point throughout pregnancy. Delaying only risks worsening the condition. However, if the condition is not urgent, you and your dentist may decide together to defer treatment until after the pregnancy.  

How to Maximize Prenatal Oral Health  

As a soon-to-be mother, what can you do to protect your oral health (and your baby’s) from the negative effects that can accompany pregnancy? These simple practices will go a long way in protecting your teeth and protecting your baby.  

    • Take your vitamins. Expecting mothers are known for loading up on vitamins and for good reason. When your body is doing the work of two people, it needs a little extra help. The same is true for your teeth. During pregnancy, your oral health could benefit from the support of vitamins such as Vitamin C, omega-3s, probiotics, and Vitamin D.  

    • Don’t brush after vomiting. At first, this might seem counterintuitive—don’t brush my teeth when I just threw up? But if you brush your teeth right after vomiting, you are actually scrubbing the acid from your stomach into your teeth, causing further erosion. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after exposure to acid to brush your teeth, no matter what the acid was from. In the case of vomiting, the ADA recommends that you rinse your mouth out with a solution made from 1 cup of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda instead. This will neutralize the acid without eroding your enamel.  

    • Keep up the basics. This may seem obvious, but it’s worth the reminder. For many pregnant women, increased sensitivity in their gums will make flossing more painful, and brushing their teeth might induce nausea. Still, these are essential components of dental health that can’t be neglected. It is also crucial to see your dentist at your regularly scheduled appointments. If pregnancy has allowed any dental problems to creep in, your dentist can address them swiftly. 



Being pregnant is a time of immense physical and hormonal change. Those changes affect even a woman’s oral health. Pregnancy puts you at greater risk for gingivitis, cavities, and enamel erosion. It also heightens the risk of giving birth prematurely if you do develop gum disease. Furthermore, the bacteria that caused cavities can be passed down to the child. Through preventative steps and prompt responses should problems arise, these issues may be kept at bay. However, it is still important to understand the effect that pregnancy has on a woman’s oral health.

If you have questions on this subject or would like to schedule your next appointment, please contact our office today!  


About Our Team

Our team of dental experts has well over 30 years of combined experience in the field of dentistry. To learn more about them, please visit our team page or stop by the clinic and say hello!