How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Whether dealing with swollen feet, morning sickness, or cravings, you can expect your body to undergo many changes during pregnancy. Dental care is critical to keep in mind as issues are more likely to arise during this phase in your life. At Cashmere Family Dentistry, our team is here to support you and ensure your teeth stay healthy. Read on to learn more about how pregnancy affects your oral health, what preventative measures you can take to protect yourself, and common dental myths to be aware of.

Oral Health During Pregnancy

The health of your teeth and gums, also known as oral health, is a significant part of your general well-being and an even more essential part of your pregnancy care. The better care you take of your oral hygiene during this time, the less chance you will encounter dental-attributed issues while pregnant. 

Any issues that you encounter should not be overlooked or dismissed as a result of “just being pregnant,” as they could cause problems down the line for both you and your baby. Being pregnant elevates your hormonal level, including that of estrogen and progesterone. This causes the amount of acid naturally living in your mouth to accumulate, thus increasing your chances of oral health issues that could potentially affect your pregnancy. 

Common Dental Issues You May Encounter

Dry Mouth

You may experience a lack of saliva production in your mouth during pregnancy. This condition is known as dry mouth or xerostomia. It can be uncomfortable, but there are ways to provide relief. Staying hydrated and always keeping a water bottle handy are the first steps in ensuring your mouth remains moist. Sucking on sugar-free hard candies may also help in producing saliva. Doing your best to breathe through your nose may also alleviate symptoms.


Inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, is experienced by over half of women at some point in their pregnancy. The increase in hormones causes symptoms such as redness and swelling, tenderness, and bleeding of the gums. This is also an early sign of gum disease and can quickly become more severe. Please call our office when you notice symptoms so Drs. Ryan and Janie Busk can help you determine the next steps.

Pregnancy Tumors

Lumps that form between your teeth are better known as pregnancy tumors. Don’t worry; these are not signs of cancer. Typically caused by plaque buildup, they appear red and raw, and may be prone to bleeding. They usually go away on their own, though they may require professional removal by Drs. Ryan and Janie Busk, if they get in the way of maintaining your oral hygiene.

Tooth Erosion

A common symptom of pregnancy is morning sickness, the feeling of nausea and vomiting at any point in the day. Vomit holds a lot of acid and can cause your tooth enamel to erode over time. Breakdown of the enamel can leave your teeth susceptible to cavities and decay. It may even make them more sensitive to the temperature of very cold or hot foods.

You may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after throwing up, but this can actually spread the acid around and cause further harm. Instead, we recommend waiting at least a half hour before doing so.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Steps You Can Take Toward Prevention

Maintain a Consistent Oral Health Routine

One of the best routine measures is brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily. These actions are the cornerstone of keeping your oral health in excellent condition and will help ensure any plaque residue, leftover food particles, and excess tartar are cleaned. 

When you receive a professional dental cleaning every six months, our team can answer any questions regarding best practices and how to keep your oral health in top shape.

Don’t Underestimate Warm Salt Water

If you suffer from tender gums or swelling, one of the most effective preliminary steps is swishing warm salt water in your mouth. This will eliminate any lingering bacteria in your mouth and provide natural relief from your symptoms. If your discomfort remains, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office so we can help walk you through what to do next. 

Think About The Food You Eat

Being mindful of the foods you eat is a simple and achievable way to look after your oral health. Consuming sugary foods in moderation is vital to protecting your teeth. It can reduce your risk of tooth decay and help introduce different nutrient-filled foods to support your general health. 

Debunking Pregnancy Dental Care Myths

Myth: Getting an X-Ray While Pregnant is Dangerous

According to the American Dental Association, x-rays are entirely safe during pregnancy. They are a regular part of your biannual dental exams and checking up on your health. These scans are essential for catching problems such as bone loss and hidden decay. Please let our team know if you have any questions about getting one during pregnancy.

Myth: Your Oral Health Doesn’t Affect Your Baby

Keeping track of issues as they arise and updating our team on symptoms you experience is vital in allowing us to stay on top of your health and how we can help provide relief. Specifically linked to gingivitis, leaving dental issues untreated has been revealed to lead to low birth weight and preterm delivery. Infections and inflammation during pregnancy can give rise to infections that may affect your child’s health.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Stay On Track For A Healthy Pregnancy!

You can count on Cashmere Family Dentistry to help keep you on the right track throughout pregnancy. We are proud to be your resource during such an important time in your life! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our front desk. Our practice is located in Cashmere and serves the local community. Schedule your free consultation today!