Dental Care During Pregnancy

We have had a few readers contact me to include some info on dental care during pregnancy and the do’s, don’ts and questions that arise, so thought I’d share some answers to some of these important questions many pregnant women have, like are crest whitestrips safe for pregnancy, and other concerns.

During pregnancy, along with your physical body, emotional state and day to day routine life changes, your teeth and gums may also undergo changes and for some people, more drastically than others. When these changes happen, you want to make sure that your teeth are well cared for, so it might be worth visiting somewhere like Babiner dental to find out how you could keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy.

What do you do if your gums get inflamed?

Some women develop what’s called pregnancy induced gingivitis, and it occurs when there is an accumulation of plaque in the mouth, but the reason it worsens and occurs during pregnancy, is because of the elevation of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Basically your gums feel and look swollen/inflamed, the margins around your teeth are red, and you may have bleeding while brushing. The best thing to do in this case is schedule an appointment with a Dentist Houston who can clean your teeth and gums, and give you tips on home care so that your teeth are plaque free. A few tips to prevent this from occurring are to always brush after meals, floss regularly (every day!) and schedule proper recalls for cleanings with your dentist/hygienist during and prior to pregnancy.

Poor oral hygiene and untreated gum disease is actually linked to pre-term, low weight babies. (Here is an article on a study proving this in the Journal of the American Dental Association).

If you have any major swelling, pus or large lesions that develop, seek care immediately.

Some products I recommend, (none are sponsored):

My favorite floss: an oldie but goodie:) Reach Clean Burst Dental Floss, Waxed, Cleanburst. And once you start flossing- trust me, you will never go back- it feels so clean!

My fave toothbrush: It’s so important to own an electric toothbrush to control how hard you are brushing to avoid enamel wear, and also to be able to efficiently remove plaque during brushing. I use and love Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Sanitizer.

A great toothpaste that is all natural that I use: Neem has amazing anti-inflammatory properties for oral health: TheraNeem Mint Toothpaste

Can I get regular dental work done during pregnancy?

The safest is to defer any elective dental work like bleaching or anything that is purely cosmetic until after pregnancy. Of course, sometimes emergencies or infections are present and if this is the case, then it is important to get treated, such as a root canal, filling or even sometimes an extraction, to avoid infections from causing fever or worsening to an abscess. During the first trimester, it is recommended that you don’t get dental work done and wait until the second trimester to have any work done. In the third trimester it is harder and not advisable to lie on your back for long procedures so best not to get work at that time either.

Some tips for during the procedure on if you do have to get dental work done:

-Bring an ipod or some music with headphones to listen to. Some dentists offer this, but bring your own so you can be stress free during the procedure.

-Bring a pillow that may help you find a comfortable working position while you are in the dental chair.

-Keep your legs uncrossed while you are sitting in the dental to chair to keep good circulation.

-If you need to sit on your side rather than back, try to do so on your left side, to avoid compressing the right side, the same principle during sleeping.

-Remember if anything is uncomfortable or you start to feel dizzy, let your dentist know right away.

Are x-rays safe for the baby?

Now a days, most dental practices use digital x-rays, which are very low exposure and safe during pregnancy to take diagnostic films, (either digital or hard copy, these are x-rays needed for a procedure and done in limited quantity), and routine full mouth x-rays should generally be avoided until after pregnancy. You will always wear a lead apron during x-rays as well, which protects you and the baby from exposure.

Which dental medications are safe?

Your dentist will know what medications are safe or unsafe. Most patients ask if the medicine that is injected to numb the tooth is safe during pregnancy and yes, it is called Lidocaine and it is safe in pregnancy safe doses. You should not be in pain which can lead to stress and we want to avoid that completely during pregnancy so your teeth have to be numb for procedures that require it. Your dentist may also prescribe you antibiotics like Amoxicillin, which are safe to take during pregnancy if you have an infection. If you have questions on what medications your dentist us using or prescribes you, do not hesitate to ask, it’s important for you to feel comfortable with what is being administered/given to you.

With so many changes going on in your body in pregnancy, it takes time and only natural to have questions during the process. Mommas to be, if you have any other dental questions or concerns, comment below and I’d be happy to help in any way that I can. And if you have any tips that worked for you please share them also!

Happy flossing! 😉



  • Shraddha

    great tips Puja!! totally trying out that Neem toothpaste.

  • Puja

    Thanks Shraddha!
    Let me know what you think if it and don’t be alarmed that it’s greyish/brown! (the paste)

  • Jennifer

    Can you keep taking amoxicillin till you are out of your first trimester.. I’m 6 weeks pregnant with an absees and need root canal should I wait ?

    • Puja

      OB-Gyn’s consider the first trimester as crucial for the development of the fetus. Any non-emergency dental work in the first trimester should be postponed until you are in the 2nd trimester, to avoid potential risks. If needed, though, your dentist can open an abscessed tooth to allow drainage and pain relief, and clean the pulp area as much as he/she can. He/she can then also put a temporary material so that in the second trimester, you can get minimal X-rays taken, with a protective apron of course, to allow the completion of the root canal treatment. You should only take the amoxicillin as per the prescription, (however many days it is written to you for by your dentist). Hope this helps!

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