The health of our teeth and gums is one variable which should never be taken for granted. This is even more pertinent for women who are pregnant. However, studies have found that over 16 percent of all expecting mothers do not prioritise oral healthcare and this can have potentially serious effects.

How might failing to care for your teeth and gums lead to possible health issues? What are some useful tips and tricks to maintain that healthy smile during your pregnancy? Are there any other practical behaviours to keep in mind? If you want to keep those pearly whites intact, take some time to peruse the information found immediately below.

How Can Poor Oral Hygiene Negatively Impact Your Pregnancy?

One common mistake involves the assumption that the condition of the mouth will not have an impact upon the body. This is actually a dangerous supposition to make.

On the contrary, issues with your teeth and gums can lead to seemingly unrelated issues. For instance, studies have linked poor oral health with higher levels of chronic inflammation and even coronary heart disease. While this is a concern for everyone, pregnant women might be opening themselves up to even more grave consequences including:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature births
  • Cavities and gingivitis
  • Loose teeth
  • Dry mouth

It is now clear to see that issues with the teeth and gums will impact both mother and child alike. Now that we have taken a look at a handful of undesirable consequences, let's move on by discussing some practical approaches to oral healthcare while pregnant.

How to Ensure the Health of Your Teeth and Gums

Thankfully, there are many ways in which you can maintain a healthy mouth without being forced to dramatically modify your daily routine. The suggestions below are relatively easy to implement and each should be used in synergy with the others.

Consult with Your Dentist

It is first important to notify your dentist when you learn that you have become pregnant. He or she will likely schedule an appointment in order to conduct a thorough examination. This is even more relevant if it has been more than six months since your last visit.

Dentists may also perform additional steps such as taking an x-ray of your mouth or providing you with a fluoride treatment (a chemical that is known to help protect the enamel of your teeth). Above all, always make it a point to speak with a professional at the first sign of trouble (such as bleeding gums that can occur during pregnancy).

Addressing Morning Sickness

Some women will experience the symptoms of morning sickness soon after they become pregnant. The good news is that this condition will normally resolve itself after between 12 and 15 weeks.

However, morning sickness can still cause a great deal of damage to your teeth due to the presence of acids when vomiting. The best way to reduce this risk is to rinse out your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda immediately after becoming ill. Baking soda will help to neutralise the acids that might otherwise begin to erode the enamel of your teeth.

The Crucial Role of Hydration

As a general rule of thumb, everyone should make it a point to remain hydrated throughout the day. This is even more relevant for those who have become pregnant, as hydration also helps to ensure the health of the child. Drinking plenty of water will likewise benefit your oral health. Water helps to wash away any bacteria that might otherwise begin to accumulate around the teeth and gums.

What About Oral Care Techniques?

Experts recommend using an over-the-counter toothpaste that contains fluoride and to brush at least twice per day. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months (sooner if you notice that the bristles have become frayed).

It is also wise to use an alcohol-free mouthwash before going to sleep every night. Mouthwashes can loosen up any food particles that might have been missed when brushing. Chewing a sugar-free gum that contains a substance known as xylitol after eating is another effective strategy, as xylitol has been shown to kill oral bacteria that could otherwise lead to tooth decay.

Healthy Eating Habits

Nutrition is an obvious concern for any soon-to-be-mother. Adopting a well-rounded diet is equally relevant in terms of your oral health.
First and foremost, try to eliminate any foods that contain high amounts of refined sugars (such as candy bars and soft drinks). This will help to prevent cavities and other issues such as gum disease.

Opt for tasty alternatives including fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheeses, and unsweetened yoghurt. Furthermore, avoid processed foods that may contain artificial colours and/or sweeteners.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a natural substance that helps to reduce birth defects. Doctors recommend obtaining approximately 600 microgrammes per day. While it is possible to obtain folic acid supplements, the following foods also offer substantial quantities:

  • Legumes including beans, peas and lentils
  • Green leafy vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli
  • Fruits including papayas, oranges and strawberries
  • Whole grains that have been fortified with folic acid

Note that these very same recommendations can be employed once you have given birth, as folic acid provides additional benefits to the body.

Never Take Your Oral Health for Granted

When the strategies outlined above are combined with other lifestyle changes such as eliminating alcohol from your diet, exercising and avoiding cigarette smoke, the benefits will be even more profound. Expectant mothers will therefore be able to enjoy a healthy smile while remaining confident in the fact that their little ones are being looked after at all times.


1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377142/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6883753/
3. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-morning-sickness
4. https://www.mchoralhealth.org/PDFs/OralHealthPregnancyHandout.pdf