Dental Advice during Pregnancy

By on January 1, 2014


Gum Problems

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gums more vulnerable to the presence of plaque, causing swelling and bleeding. Most pregnant women will experience some bleeding of their gums, especially whilst brushing or flossing their teeth—the dental term for this is gingivitis.

However, provided the good oral hygiene habits introduced and reinforced by dentists are adhered to by pregnant women, then gingivitis doesn’t pose too much of a problem. A visit to the dentist will reassure the mother-to-be and also reinforce oral hygiene practice.


Dietary habits often change during pregnancy, including snacking between meals on unhealthy foods containing sugar. This sugar feeds on the bacteria contained in plaque deposits, causing acid, which dissolves the tooth enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay. One must remember, the main cause of tooth decay is not only the amount of sugar but also the frequency with which it is eaten or drunk in a certain time period.


Regular dental checks are always important, more so during pregnancy, to monitor the health of the teeth and gums. Your dentist may decide to de-scale and polish your teeth to remove plaque, tartar build-ups, in a measure to prevent future cavities and keep your smile looking beautiful.

If decay is found in your teeth, to relieve you from pain or sensitivity, your dentist may decide to remove the decay and fill the cavity with a white composite resin, or if an amalgam restoration is required, a temporary restoration will be placed. Amalgam restorations contain a certain amount of mercury, which can be released at the time of placing or removal of the amalgam restoration. Therefore, if possible, it is advisable not to remove or place these amalgam restorations during pregnancy.

If other dental work is necessary during pregnancy, the second trimester is the best time to have the work done, but the safest course of action is to postpone all non-emergency dental work until after the birth.

Modern X-ray equipment is generally safe during pregnancy, although many clinicians will probably opt not to X-ray pregnant women unless it is absolutely essential for a diagnosis.

Local Anesthesia

In my opinion, local anesthetics are relatively safe during pregnancy, provided there is no history of allergy or adverse reaction. The local anesthetic will help to ease the stress of the treatment––this is actually in the best interests of mother and baby.

Dental care

Be sure to have a dental check up early in pregnancy. You may even want to see your dentist more often than usual.

Brush/floss your teeth at least twice a day

Use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently in a circular motion at the margin where the gum and tooth meet. Floss between your teeth. You will find once you have developed excellent brushing and flossing technique the bleeding will reduce and can even stop.

Try to postpone all non-emergency dental work till after the birth of the baby.

It is important to see professional advice from your dentist regarding any of the above topics if you are unsure.

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About Dr. Yumna Mohideen

Dr. Yumna Mohideen (BDS) has lived in Tokyo for six years and is a mother of two little girls. She has, having graduated from The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, practiced general dentistry in the UK and as a Research Fellow at Tsurumi Dental University in Yokohama, Japan. Her area of specialist is Restorative Dentistry.