Keeping Up With Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

caring for your teeth during pregnancy

Keeping Up With Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

There is so much to think about when you’re pregnant that it can be easy to forget about the basics. In fact, only 32% of pregnant people consult a dentist during their pregnancy. However, your oral care should never get left to the wayside, so don’t avoid visiting your dentist while pregnant. There are plenty of safe dental treatments that won’t put you or your baby at risk.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

Being pregnant can make you more susceptible to gum disease and cavities. Usually this is due to changes in your hormone levels, but changes in your diet and side effects like morning sickness play a role as well. 

Caring for your oral health is an important part of caring for your pregnancy. Having excess bacteria in your mouth, open sores, or bleeding gums can lead to dangerous infections that spread through your bloodstream affecting your whole body, baby included. A 2016 study even found a link between advanced periodontal disease and preterm labor and low birth weights.

Five Tips for Caring for Your Teeth During Pregnancy 

1: Practice good habits before the baby arrives.

Having a strong oral health routine in place can help you stick to it, even during the sleepless days and nights after your baby arrives. Strong oral health routines should include brushing morning and evening, flossing once a day, and using a mouth rinse once a day as well. 

2: Rinse your mouth after morning sickness.

Stomach acids can wear down your tooth enamel, causing cavities to form more quickly. I can also irritate your gums, making you more vulnerable to gum disease. After vomiting, rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water to avoid any negative repercussions on your teeth. But don’t brush your teeth while your mouth is still acidic—wait at least half an hour for your saliva to restore a neutral pH balance.

3: Get your cavities filled.

Getting cavities filled before they become any bigger is always a good idea, whether you’re pregnant or not. Small cavities are easier (and cheaper) to fill. The longer you wait, the more of your tooth will be eaten away by decay. Cavities are also contagious, and they can spread decay to other teeth. Plus, the bacteria that cause cavities could even move from parent to baby through kisses. Early exposure to cavity-causing bacteria may make cavities worse later in life for your little one.

4: Be wary of mouth sores.

Cold sores are highly contagious and are easily spread to other members of your family. There is no way to get rid of the virus that causes cold sores, so understanding and managing them is important. 

5: Visit your dentist at least once during pregnancy.

Dental visits, especially teeth cleanings, are a very important part of your prenatal care. Let your dentist know you are pregnant, so they can give you appropriate treatments or more tips to help you maintain good oral health during pregnancy.

And don’t be worried about dental x-rays—they are safe for everyone, including pregnant people. The amount of radiation is very low, and precautions like lead aprons will limit your exposure. However, if you choose not to have x-rays until after the baby is born, just let your dentist know. 

Find a Dentist You Trust 

If you’re worried about going to the dentist when you’re pregnant, you’re not alone. Here at Hicks Dental Group, we pride ourselves on offering stress-free dental appointments. Our highly trained and compassionate team will help you keep your oral health in good order during your pregnancy. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about how pregnancy is affecting your dental health and about which treatments are safe. You don’t have to avoid going to the dentist when you’re pregnant—contact us today to make an appointment.




Images used under creative commons licence – commercial use (4/1/24). Photo by freestocks on Unsplash.