Ada.org: for the dental patient: oral health during pregnancy
F O R T H E D E N T A L P A T I E N T . . . Oral health during
delayed until after your baby is born, your den-tist may need to obtain a radiograph as part of
your dental treatment. To minimize your expo-sure and that of the fetus to x-rays, your dentistwill cover your abdomen with a protective apron
and place a thyroid collar over your throat.
Talk with your dentist or physician about any
concerns you may have about your treatment.
Good daily care is key to your oral health. To
You have so much to think about during help prevent caries (tooth decay) and gum disease,
pregnancy, but don’t overlook your oral
brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluo-
health, which can be affected by the hor-
ride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean
develop gingivitis during pregnancy. Gingivitis
is an infection of the gingivae (gums) that can
cause swelling and tenderness. Your gums also
may bleed a little when you brush or floss. Left
untreated, gingivitis can affect the supporting
tissues that hold your teeth in place. Your den-
tist may recommend more frequent cleanings to
Acceptance, your assurance that they have met
Sometimes lumps appear along the gum line
ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.
and between teeth. These swellings are harm-less, but they bleed easily and are characterized
by a red, raw-looking mulberrylike surface.
Frequent snacking may increase your risk of
Although these growths are called “pregnancy
developing tooth decay, which is caused by
tumors,” they are not cancerous. They usually
plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms con-
go away on their own after pregnancy, but they
stantly on teeth. The bacteria convert sugar and
can be removed under a local anesthetic if they
starch that remain in the mouth after eating to
acid that attacks tooth enamel. The longer thesugars remain in your mouth, the longer the
acids attack. After repeated attacks, tooth decay
You should continue to see your dentist during
pregnancy for oral examinations and profes-sional teeth cleaning. Tell your dentist that you
ORAL HEALTH AND OVERALL HEALTH
are pregnant and about any changes you have
Your oral health is an important part of your
overall health, and untreated dental disease can
Also, be sure to let your dentist know about
be harmful to you and your baby. Be sure to
any medications or supplements you are taking.
include your oral health in your daily self-care
Your dentist may need to use or prescribe med-
routine and keep your dentist informed of any
ication as part of your treatment. Some medica-
changes in your oral health during pregnancy. ■
tions are considered safe for limited use duringpregnancy and some should not be used at all.
Prepared by the American Dental Association (ADA) Division of
Science. Copyright 2011 American Dental Association. Unlike
For example, if you develop an infection, your
other portions of JADA, the print version of this page may be clipped
dentist might prescribe penicillin or amoxicillin.
and photocopied as a handout for patients without reprint permis-sion from the ADA Publishing Division. Any other use, copying or
distribution of this material, whether in printed or electronic form
treated with tetracycline because it can stain
and including the copying and posting of this material on a Web site,
the fetus’ developing teeth. Once they erupt, the
is strictly prohibited without prior written consent of the ADA Pub-lishing Division.
teeth may look gray or brown permanently as aresult of these stains. Your dentist or physician
“For the Dental Patient” provides general information on dental
can talk with you about medications that are
treatments to dental patients. It is designed to prompt discussionbetween dentist and patient about treatment options and does not
substitute for the dentist’s professional assessment based on the
Although radiography (x-rays) often can be
individual patient’s needs and desires.
Copyright 2011 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.
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