Skip to Main Content
the else fullsize desktop banner img

Can Your Oral Health Have Effects on Your Pregnancy

Oral Health

Can Your Oral Health Have Effects on Your Pregnancy 

Feb 3 • Oral Health & Pregnancy


When you’re pregnant, you have another life to take care of. Pregnant women will often go to great lengths to stop smoking and drinking and eating healthier, all for a healthy baby. 

However, pregnant women have to remember to take care of themselves as well. This means improving their oral health. Pregnancy causes increased levels of certain hormones, like progesterone and estrogen. These can increase your risk for oral health problems.

Plus, your eating habits may change. You may have cravings and eat more of certain foods during pregnancy than you did before you were pregnant. The kinds of food you eat can affect your dental health. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that you may brush and floss your teeth less than you did before you got pregnant due to sensitivity issues or nausea. These factors can cause women to develop cavities, gum disease, and gingivitis. These issues can cause pain, inflammation, and other issues.

Poor oral health during pregnancy can lead to poor outcomes for both the mother and the baby. Here’s what you need to know about oral health and pregnancy so you can keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.

Common Changes in Pregnancy

Pregnant woman can experience the following oral health issues:

  • Gingivitis. As many as 75% of pregnant women suffer from gingivitis. Pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, can increase blood flow to the gums. This makes them more sensitive to plaque bacteria. This increased sensitivity can lead to inflammation, swelling, tenderness, and bleeding gums, a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis tends to go away once the baby is born. 
  • Periodontal disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontal disease, a more severe form of gum disease that affects the tissues supporting the teeth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make women more susceptible to periodontal disease.
  • Enamel erosion and decay. Changes in diet and increased cravings for sugary foods during pregnancy can increase the risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Morning sickness and vomiting can also expose teeth to stomach acids. This can weaken enamel and lead to decay.
  • Dry mouth. Hormonal changes can affect saliva production, leading to a condition called xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth. Reduced saliva flow can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease because saliva helps to neutralize acids and wash away food particles.
  • Increased risk of tooth loss. Untreated gum disease during pregnancy can affect the baby and cause low birth weight. Severe gum disease can also lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
  • Pregnancy tumors. In some cases, pregnant women may develop pregnancy tumors. These may seem scary, but they are actually non-cancerous growths that appear on the gums, usually in the second trimester. These tumors are typically painless and often regress after childbirth.

Can Oral Health Issues Affect My Baby?

There is no evidence that mild issues such as red or swollen gums can harm a fetus. This risk of a miscarriage or premature birth is very rare. 

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. This is a serious type of gum disease that is linked to preterm delivery and low birth weight. Premature babies and low birth weight babies tend to have more health problems after birth and later in life;

It can also affect your teeth. In periodontitis, inflammation causes your gums to pull away from your teeth. This can lead to infection and tooth loss. 

What Pregnant Women Can Do

Pregnancy does not have to mean cavities and bleeding gums. To maintain good oral health during pregnancy, it’s important for pregnant women to do the following:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene This means brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups. Let your dentist know about the pregnancy.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Focus on fruits and vegetables and limit sugary snacks and beverages.
  • If you experience morning sickness, rinse out your mouth with water or mouthwash afterward to help neutralize acids.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste and consider fluoride treatments if recommended by a dentist.
  • If you smoke, quit. Tobacco products can harm your teeth and your baby. 

Contact Our Experienced North Vancouver Dentist Today

Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but it can also do a number on your mouth. If you are dealing with pain, inflammation, or other dental issues, contact Blue Sky Dental.

Our team is dedicated to providing patients with quality care. We’ll help ensure your mouth, gums, and teeth are properly treated during and after pregnancy. To schedule an appointment today, call 604-971-6999 or fill out the online form.

Ready for your first appointment?