Dental Care Tips During Pregnancy
A healthy mouth is important to the overall health of both you and your baby. Maintaining good oral health depends on proper preventive care, including both professional dental visits and self-care at home.
See your dentist regularly
Because pregnancy can actually make some dental problems worse, professional dental care is more important now than ever before.
- Schedule regular checkups – Routine dental checkups and cleanings during pregnancy are not only safe, but highly encouraged. Since you have an increased risk of developing gum disease during pregnancy, you may benefit from seeing your dentist more frequently than you normally do. Most United Concordia plans provide additional coverage to members during pregnancy.
- Share important information – Be sure to tell your dentist details such as how far along you are and if your pregnancy is being treated as high-risk. Also inform him or her if you experience any new symptoms or other changes in your mouth.
- Take caution with X-rays – Try to avoid X-rays when possible during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. They are, however, necessary for proper diagnosis in some situations, such as a dental emergency. You should wear a leaded apron to minimize abdominal exposure to radiation. Always talk to your dentist about the risks and benefits of X-rays, as well as what’s best for you as an individual.
Practice optimal oral hygiene at home
During pregnancy or any stage of life, preventive dental care starts at home. Talk to your dentist about proper oral hygiene technique, or see our tips on oral health care and prevention.
- Brush your teeth 2-3 times per day, especially after meals and before bed. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Floss daily – Be gentle on any tender areas. Hormones and increased blood volume may cause gums to be more sensitive, but you should not discontinue your flossing routine.
- Rinse throughout the day – Drinking water can help you stay hydrated as well as rinse away plaque-causing bacteria and food particles. It’s especially important to rinse immediately after snacking or consuming beverages other than water.
- Control plaque – Since pregnancy compromises the immune system, you may need extra support to prevent the buildup of plaque, which can contribute to cavities and gum disease if not effectively cleaned from the teeth. If brushing, flossing and rinsing aren’t fully controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend an antimicrobial rinse.
- Combat the effects morning sickness – If you experience morning sickness, do not brush your teeth immediately after, as it can weaken the enamel of your teeth. To clean and protect your mouth after getting sick, rinse with a mixture of one teaspoon baking soda and one cup water.
- Eat healthy – Focus on eating a complete and balanced diet as recommended by your physician and/or dentist. Limit sweets and processed carbohydrates, which are known to contribute to tooth decay.
- Watch what you drink – Keep in mind that many beverages contain added sugar, and even sugar-free varieties may be high in acid – another substance that can harm teeth and gums.
Dental health during pregnancy; March of Dimes, January 2013.
Pregnancy Dental Concerns; American Dental Association; 2016
Healthy Habits to Practice During Pregnancy; American Dental Association; 2016