Dental Care During Pregnancy

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Topic Overview

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 are an important part of a healthy pregnancy.

Regular brushing and flossing can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Good nutrition is also important for a healthy mouth. So make sure to eat a balanced, nutritious diet and get enough vitamins and minerals.

These healthy habits are important for your baby too. A child's dental care really starts with the mother's healthy pregnancy, because baby teeth start to form before birth.

Are dental checkups and cleanings safe during pregnancy?

Remember that it's safe-and a good idea-to go to the dentist during your pregnancy. Talk to your dentist about scheduling a complete dental exam and regular visits for cleanings and other dental work.

Most dental work can be done while you are pregnant. For example, dental X-rays and local anesthesia are generally safe during pregnancy. If you have cavities or gum disease, get treatment. Delaying dental care can make a problem worse.

Be sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant.

How does your mouth change during pregnancy?

Some changes in your mouth during pregnancy are normal. They should go away after your baby is born. When you are pregnant, you have more blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums. This may cause your gums to bleed, especially when you brush your teeth. Your gums also may be more swollen than usual. Using a toothbrush with soft bristles may help.

Your teeth might feel loose while you are pregnant. This usually doesn't cause any problems. It should go away after pregnancy.

If you have morning sickness or digestive problems like reflux, stomach acid in your mouth can weaken your teeth. This makes cavities more likely. Regular brushing can help. It may also help to rinse out your mouth. Try a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. You might also ask your doctor if you can take over-the-counter medicine for reflux.

How do you care for your teeth and gums?

To keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day-in the morning and before bed-and floss once a day.
    • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.
    • Use a tongue cleaner or a soft-bristle toothbrush to brush your tongue from back to front.
  • Eat a healthy diet to help keep your gums healthy and your teeth strong.
    • Choose foods that are good for your teeth, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium.
    • Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar. Sugar helps plaque grow.
  • Schedule checkups and cleanings as often as your dentist recommends them.
  • Don't smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Tobacco can make tooth decay worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017