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Oral Health and Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes and some of these can affect the health of your gums and teeth.

 

What changes to my teeth and gums can happen because of pregnancy?

  • Swollen gums and bleeding (“pregnancy gingivitis”) can happen from changes in hormone levels. Growths on gums (“pregnancy granulomas”) can happen from poor oral care 
  • Cavities -  Morning sickness can leave stomach acid in the mouth, increasing the chances of getting cavities. 
  • Pre-term, low birth weight babies.  There is a connection between high levels of bacteria in the mouth from  poor oral hygiene and pre-term low birth weight babies.
 
Oral Health and Pregnancy
 

How can I care for my teeth during pregnancy?

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Limit foods that are sweet or stick to your teeth
  • Continue with regular dental visits
  • Do not brush your teeth for 30 minutes after vomiting. With stomach acid on your teeth, brushing may cause damage to the outer layer of your tooth. Rinse your mouth with water or use a fluoride mouth rinse to freshen your mouth and protect your teeth.

Should I seek professional care for my teeth during pregnancy? 

Regular dental cleanings and check-ups are safe at any time during pregnancy. Tell your dentist or dental hygienist that you are pregnant. 

X-rays

To prevent or reduce radiation exposure, postpone routine dental x-rays until after your baby is born. In emergency situations x-rays may still be taken for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Medications

Some medications may not be safe to use during pregnancy. If you need emergency dental care, certain drugs may be required. Check with your pharmacist, dentist and/or health care provider to see whether a medication is safe during pregnancy.

For more information visit Caring for your teeth.

 
Date of creation: November 22, 2012
Last modified on: November 28, 2019
 

References

1Health Canada. Oral health and pregnancy Retrieved from
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/pregnancy/oral-health-pregnancy.html
2HealthLinkBC. Pregnancy and dental health Retrieved from
http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile38b.stm
3Image attribution: Totoro33. Gingivitis before and after Retrieved from
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/_/viewer.aspx?path=2%2F28%2F&name=Gingivitis_before_and_after-2.jpg