Pregnancy is an important time to be more aware of your oral health. The First 2000 Days of your child’s life begins from conception. It is important to keep your mouth healthy before, during and after pregnancy for long term health benefits for you and your child. Poor oral health can affect your pregnancy and increase the risk of your child developing dental decay.
Pregnancy hormones may cause swelling (inflammation) and bleeding gums (gingivitis). Frequent vomiting and food cravings can increase plaque bacteria and acidity levels in the mouth, leading to tooth sensitivity and bleeding gums. Daily dental hygiene routine and visiting a dentist can support your wellbeing and general health, and provide your child with a healthy start in life.
How to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy
- If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water after vomiting and wipe a little fluoride toothpaste over your teeth with your finger. Brushing after vomiting (which is acidic) can wear away your tooth enamel. Wait 30 minutes before brushing.
- Brush your teeth, gums and tongue when you are able. Ideally, after breakfast and before going to bed at night.
- Use a soft toothbrush with a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth every day with dental floss or interdental brushes. For more information see How to brush.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Choose healthy snacks that protect your teeth like cheese and low fat yogurt.
- Limit foods high in added sugars, fats and salt, especially between meals.
- Choose water. Fluoridated tap water is best. It is free and protects your teeth from dental decay.
- Avoid drinks that contain added sugars (e.g. soft drinks, cordials, juice, sports drinks or energy drinks) as these increase the risk of dental decay.
Dental check up
- See your dentist before or soon after you become pregnant.
- It is safe to have dental treatment when you are pregnant.
- Tell your dentist you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
- Visit Information for patients to see if you are eligible for free dental care in a NSW Public Dental Service.
- Some Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Centres (ACCHS) provide dental care for their patients. Each ACCHS may have different eligibility criteria and appointment processes for their dental programs. Contact your local ACCHS for more information
After baby is born
- Only put breastmilk or infant formula in feeding bottles and take the bottle away once your child has finished feeding. Put your baby to bed without a bottle.
- Always clean your baby’s dummy with water. Dummies should not be cleaned in your mouth.
- For more information see Advice for children 0-5
Smoking and alcohol
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol during pregnancy. If you do smoke and are thinking of quitting, visit iCanQuit or call the NSW Quitline 137848 for advice and support.
- For more information see the fact sheet Smoking and pregnancy
For health professionals
Discuss with women who are planning pregnancy or are pregnant the importance of good oral health for their own health and the health of their growing baby. Encourage a dental check before or as soon as they are pregnant.