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Myths and facts about pregnancy and oral health

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about pregnancy and dental health, even to the point where pregnant women may be uncertain about whether or not they should go to the dentist. Here’s a guide to navigating the myths and facts and taking charge of your dental health.

Myth: There’s no reason to tell my dentist when I find out I’m pregnant.

Fact: It’s important for your dentist and hygienist to know that you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Being pregnant may find you at risk for certain dental conditions as well as limiting the treatment options available. Always let your dental team know if you are or may be pregnant, how far along you are, and if your pregnancy is high-risk.

Myth: Being pregnant doesn’t affect your mouth.

Fact: Pregnant women are at greater risk for certain oral health conditions, including gum disease (also known as “pregnancy gingivitis”) and growths within the mouth (known as “pregnancy tumors”). Both conditions are treatable, so make sure to visit your dentist.

Myth: Your oral health doesn’t affect your baby.

Fact: If you have moderate to severe gum disease, you may be at higher risk for delivering a pre-term, low-birth weight baby.

Myth: Pregnant women should avoid dental work.

Fact: Everyone — and especially pregnant women — should visit the dentist. Make sure to visit your dentist for regular cleanings, exams and any other treatment you need. Missing out on dental care could affect both your health and your baby’s.

Some studies have found a relationship between anesthesia in the first trimester and early miscarriage. If you need treatment requiring anesthesia, your dentist may recommend postponing such procedures until the second trimester.

Myth: Pregnancy leaches calcium from your teeth.

Fact: Being pregnant doesn't result in calcium loss from your teeth. This myth likely originated because pregnant women face a higher risk of tooth decay. That said, pregnancy is a critical time to consume calcium.  This essential nutrient helps your growing fetus develop properly and lowers your own risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) later in life.


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Myth: Dental x-rays while pregnant are dangerous for your baby.

Fact: Dental x-rays during pregnancy are considered safe by the American Dental Association. X-rays can be essential in detecting serious problems, such as hidden decay, bone loss and inflamed tooth pulp. No research has found a link between dental x-rays and birth defects, although a 2004 study did find an increase in low birth weight among women who had dental x-rays while pregnant. If you have any concerns, talk to your dentist, who can help evaluate your case and decide whether x-rays can be postponed.

Myth: Morning sickness is unpleasant but harmless.

Fact: Repeated vomiting can cause serious damage to your teeth. Exposure to stomach acid dissolves tooth enamel, weakening your teeth’s defense against decay. If you suffer from morning sickness, talk to your dentist about ways to reduce the harm, such as using a mouthguard or rinsing with baking soda.

Last updated January 25, 2022

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.