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Ages & Stages

Pregnancy and Oral Health: Truth or Fiction?

​Many beliefs related to pregnancy and oral health have passed from generation to generation.  

​Q. Do women really lose a tooth with each pregnancy?

  • ​​​A common belief is that women lose a tooth with each pregnancy. But with good oral hygiene and professional oral health care, pregnant women’s teeth can stay healthy.

Q. Does an unborn baby really steal his or her mom’s calcium? 

  • ​Another common belief is that the unborn baby takes calcium from a woman’s teeth, which causes tooth decay. This is not true. During pregnancy, women may be at greater risk for developing tooth decay because they eat more frequently to prevent nausea. Tooth decay is 100% preventable. But, if left untreated, tooth decay can ​cause toothaches and can lead to tooth loss.

Q. Are pregnant women really at a higher risk for gingivitis?

  • ​When women are pregnant, their bodies go through complicated changes. Many notice that their gums are sore, puffy, and prone to bleeding. These are symptoms of gingivitis, an infection of the gum tissue. Anyone can develop gingivitis. But pregnant women are at higher risk for gingivitis because of hormonal changes. If gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to a more serious gum disease that can, in turn, lead to tooth loss.

Q. How can pregnant women prevent tooth decay and gingivitis?

  • The best way for pregnant women to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis is to keep their teeth and gums clean. Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day, flossing once a day, and getting a professional dental cleaning is the best way to keep pregnant women’s teeth and gums healthy. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar also helps.

If tooth decay is present, treatment in a dental office is the only way it can be stopped. If tooth decay and gingivitis are prevented or treated, there is no reason for pregnant women to lose teeth.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated
Brush Up on Oral Health Newsletter (Copyright © 2012 The National Center on Health)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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