Keeping mom and baby healthy
Expectant mothers have a lot to think about during pregnancy, but one thing that shouldn’t be put on the back burner is their oral health.
Changing hormone levels during pregnancy can make women more susceptible to oral health problems like periodontal (gum) disease. Hormonal changes can cause an increase in blood flow to the gums, resulting in inflammation, sensitivity and bleeding.1 In fact, between 60 and 75 percent of women will develop gingivitis during pregnancy.2
Pregnant women with untreated gum disease may be at higher risk for premature deliveries and low birthweight. In addition, serious dental problems can develop further, including tooth decay and tooth loss.3 Because pregnancy involves the health of two, taking extra care of teeth and gums during pregnancy is essential.
Contrary to what some say, visiting the dentist while pregnant is important and safe. Tell your dentist you’re expecting and the due date, as well as any changes in your oral health. Avoiding the dentist could create more serious oral health problems later on, if left untreated. If prescribed a medication by your dentist, be sure to call your doctor and verify that it is safe for the baby.
Being proactive about your oral health before, during and after pregnancy will help keep you and your little one healthy.
The 411 on oral health during pregnancy:
- Poor oral health can increase the risk of spreading bacteria from mother to baby.
- Expectant mothers that experience morning sickness, which may trigger vomiting, should rinse their mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water to prevent digestive acids from attacking their teeth.
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and eat nutritious meals.
- Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can help reduce gum irritation.
- Schedule at least one dental visit while pregnant.
This information is available for download as an oral health flyer.
1 American Pregnancy Association, “Pregnancy and Swollen Gums (Also known as Pregnancy Gingivitis),” web.
2 CDA Foundation, “Oral Health During Pregnancy and Early Childhood: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Health Professionals,” web.
3 American Dental Association, “Oral Health During Pregnancy: What to expect when expecting,” web.