When you are pregnant extra care is needed in monitoring your own health - including your dental health - as this can affect the health of your developing baby.  In addition, hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy can increase your chances of developing gum disease

So while you are pregnant, it is especially important to practice good oral hygiene, which means brushing and flossing every day, eating a healthy, balanced diet and continuing to make regular dental visits.

How does pregnancy affect my teeth and gums?

Pregnancy causes hormonal fluctuations that increase your risk for gingivitis. The changing hormone levels in your body can make your gums more sensitive to harmful plaque—the colourless, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Furthermore, if you already have signs of gum disease, being pregnant may make it worse. This is why it’s vital to pay more careful attention to your daily brushing and flossing routine to keep plaque under control.

How does gum disease develop?

Plaque is one of the main causes of gum disease. If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it will accumulate on the teeth and below the gumline, which can lead to gingivitis—the first stage of gum disease. 
If ignored, gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis, in which the gums and bones that support your teeth and keep them in place are permanently damaged.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

As many as 70% of women have some form of gum disease during pregnancy, so watch out for these warning signs: 

  • Your gums are tender, swollen, or red
  • Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
  • You can’t get rid of bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth


Am I also at a greater risk for tooth decay?

Yes. Sugary food cravings and morning sickness may make you more vulnerable to developing cavities.

How can I avoid tooth decay and gum disease?

Here is a checklist for keeping your teeth and gums properly cleaned:

  • Brush thoroughly at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed. Use a good quality, soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Take your time. You should spend at least two minutes brushing to remove the plaque that is constantly forming on your teeth.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is proven to help prevent cavities.
  • Clean between teeth daily. Use floss or other interdental cleaners to remove plaque from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet, rich in calcium – these are especially good for developing teeth and bones.
  • Avoid frequent sugary snacks.
  • Continue to visit your dentist and hygienist for regular checkups.
Should I tell my dentist that I’m pregnant?

As soon as you believe that you are pregnant, tell your dentist because it may not be safe to have x-rays during pregnancy. You should also let your dentist know if you are trying to get pregnant: knowing this can help in planning x-rays or other treatments. Tell your dentist what medicines you are taking and if your GP has given you any specific medical advice, as it may affect the treatment given.

When do my baby’s teeth start developing?

Your baby’s first teeth will begin to develop about three months into your pregnancy. The healthier your diet is, the greater the likelihood that your baby’s teeth and gums will be healthy too.

How should I care for my infant’s teeth and gums?
  • Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, you should be cleaning his or her mouth after feeding. Use a damp washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe the gums – this will remove any plaque that has formed
  • You should start brushing your baby’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush as soon as the first one appears.
  • Take your baby to the dentist sometime between the arrival of the first tooth and his or her first birthday. At this time, the dentist will check your child’s teeth, gums and jaw for any problems and show you the right way to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
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