Pregnant woman talking with doctor.

Pregnancy and Oral Health – What You Should Know      

Pregnancy, and trying to get pregnant, can bring up a lot of questions, especially if it’s your first time.      

  • Can my oral health affect my ability to get pregnant?
  • What dental care should I get while I’m pregnant?
  • What procedures should I avoid?
  • Do I need to come in more frequently for cleanings? Or less frequently?
  • What is “Pregnancy Gingivitis”?

At Health Centered Dentistry, we realize questions about your oral health may be near the bottom of the list. However, recent studies have found that oral health can affect both fertility and fetal development.

The best advice is to maintain consistent communication with your dentist regarding your oral health. They can provide specific recommendations based on your individual needs. And ensure you get safe and appropriate oral health care while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, inform your dentist of any medications you may be taking to assist the process.

During pregnancy, make sure to inform your dentist of any changes to your oral health. And, if possible schedule routine dental checkups during the second trimester. That will allow you to receive treatment before it becomes uncomfortable to sit in a chair for the duration of your treatment — and allow your dentist to address any oral health challenges experienced from hormonal changes and morning sickness.

Here are some oral healthcare recommendations to ensure your ability to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.

Questions about your oral health during pregnancy? Ask the Dentists at Health Centered Dentistry.

Overall Recommendations from the American Dental Association

The American Dental Association recommends the following practices to ensure optimal oral health for pregnant mothers:

  • Get your routine dental check-up, with preventive exams and cleanings, on your usual schedule.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Avoid acidic and sugary foods.
  • Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or after delivery.
  • Postpone elective procedures until after delivery.
  • When undergoing dental treatments, maintain healthy circulation by keeping your legs uncrossed while sitting in the dentist’s chair.

Periodontal Disease and Fertility

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease or gingivitis, is a chronic inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues.

Studies have found a possible link between periodontal disease and fertility.

Gum inflammation from periodontal disease might negatively impact fertility by interfering with the process of a fertilized egg implanting in the uterus.

It elevates inflammatory markers throughout the body, which could disrupt the delicate hormonal balance needed for ovulation and implantation. And though less likely, bacteria from periodontal disease could potentially travel through the bloodstream and affect the reproductive organs.

Current studies suggest that it might take women with periodontal disease longer to conceive than those with healthy gums. More research is needed to understand the correlation fully.

But you can minimize risks by maintaining good oral health habits. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Get regular dental checkups to prevent periodontal disease, or receive dental treatment if needed.

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Periodontal disease may also play a part during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy, such as increases in estrogen and progesterone, can make pregnant women more susceptible to plaque buildup. Often referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis”, it affects 60–75% of pregnant people. It’s the same as gingivitis which occurs outside of pregnancy. However, those who might not have been prone to it before becoming pregnant pregnancy can see an increased risk during pregnancy due to those hormonal changes.

Untreated and advanced periodontal disease may increase the chances of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Gum inflammation can elevate inflammatory markers throughout the body, increasing the chances of pregnancy complications like premature labor and lower birth weights.

Preventive dental care is the best way of reducing risks along with regular dental checkups — and maintaining good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing.

Preventive Dental Care During Conception and Pregnancy

Continue your regular dental checkups and cleanings throughout your pregnancy. They’re especially ideal in the second trimester. They can remove plaque and tartar buildup that can contribute to gum disease.

Dental Procedures During Pregnancy

It may be necessary to undergo more than routine dental care during pregnancy.

Most dental health procedures are completely safe for you and your baby. Here are some of the most common procedures you might require.


You may be concerned about having dental X-rays when pregnant or trying to conceive. X-rays are extremely helpful in diagnosing any dental problems you may experience and should be done sparingly when pregnant. Digital x-rays pose little risk during pregnancy. To ensure you have a smooth pregnancy, we only do necessary x-rays during the 2nd trimester. Necessary x-rays are typically needed due to a traumatic injury or abscess. Your dentist or hygienist will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have.


Some dental procedures, such as fillings and extractions, use local anesthetics. The American Dental Association says that local anesthetics with epinephrine, such as lidocaine, bupivacaine, and mepivacaine, are safe to use during pregnancy. At Health Centered Dentistry, we take the extra precaution for our pregnant patients and only use carbocaine as it contains no epinephrine.


Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, can increase during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and acid residue from morning sickness during the first trimester.

It’s typically safe for you to get fillings for any cavities during your 2nd trimester of pregnancy. 

Don’t postpone cavity treatments until after delivery. Untreated caries can lead to bacterial infections, which could adversely affect your pregnancy.

Tooth Extraction

It’s preferable to have any extractions prior to your pregnancy. But that’s not always possible. If you need a tooth extraction during pregnancy, the procedure can be performed safely with local anesthesia.

Periodontal Treatment

Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) to treat periodontal diseases is generally safe during pregnancy. When possible, it’s preferable to schedule treatment for a periodontal infection during the second trimester. Your doctor can advise you if some deep cleaning procedures should postponed until after delivery.

Root Canals

Should you need root canal treatment, the process is generally considered safe during pregnancy. And it’s far better for you to receive treatment during your pregnancy than to wait. Waiting can lead to worse conditions that might adversely affect your pregnancy.

You might not realize you need a root canal until you’re already pregnant, or the need for a root canal procedure may happen during your pregnancy. If possible, try to schedule the procedure should before your third trimester, when sitting in a dentist’s chair might be uncomfortable.

Elective Procedures

Elective dental procedures like cosmetic dentistry are generally safe. But since they are elective it’s recommended that you postpone them until after delivery.

Morning Sickness and Oral Health Care

Nausea and vomiting can expose your teeth to stomach acids that can erode the enamel. You can neutralize and remove any acidic residue by rinsing your mouth with water or a sugar-free mouthwash.

If morning sickness makes it difficult to brush your teeth, try using bland-tasting toothpaste to make the process more tolerable.

Conclusion: Dental Health Before and During Pregnancy

Oral health care during pregnancy, and while trying to get pregnant, can help with fertility and a healthy delivery. Neglecting oral health problems before and during pregnancy can inhibit conception, and put your baby at higher risk for adverse birth outcomes.

The health professionals at Health Centered Dentistry are here to provide the best maternal oral health care for you and help you have a happy healthy baby.

Find Out How We Can Improve Your Dental Health. Contact Health Centered Dentistry today.