How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Care? Grandville, MI

Pregnancy hormones and morning sickness can affect oral health, which is why it’s important to continue seeing your dentist. 

While we understand being concerned for the health of your unborn child, skipping your appointment or ignoring tooth pain can do more harm than good. Continue reading to learn why a trip to the dentist is perfectly safe during pregnancy.

Why Dental Care is Important during Pregnancy

While pregnant, you have a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease due to varying hormone levels. Dental care is important during pregnancy because your oral health is connected to your overall health and the health of your baby so keeping your mouth healthy helps keep you and your baby healthy.

Going to the dentist while pregnant is safe and is recommended by the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Morning Sickness and Tooth Decay

When you vomit, the stomach acid wears away the natural enamel on your teeth. As a result, you may have sensitive teeth or cavities during pregnancy. Each pregnancy is different.

If you’re having oral health issues, our dentist will be able to determine if morning sickness plays a role. In general, we recommend you wait 30 minutes after vomiting to brush your teeth. That way, with the help of your saliva, your tooth enamel has enough time to recover after being exposed to stomach acid.

You may think, “don’t I want to brush my teeth to get the stomach acid off? That way it doesn’t sit on my teeth?” It may sound counterintuitive, but if you brush too soon you’ll likely brush away the enamel that was weakened by the stomach acid and spit it out with the toothpaste.

Hormonal Changes and Gingivitis

Pregnancy hormones can increase your risk of early gum disease (gingivitis), especially during the second trimester. If your gums are bleeding, swollen, or sore, you’re not alone.

According to, 40% of pregnant women develop gingivitis. Likewise, if you already had gum disease before pregnancy, you may notice your symptoms getting worse. 

Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by hormone fluctuations that increase blood flow to your gums. These hormones may also affect your body’s ability to fight dental plaque. 

Since you’re at an increased risk for gum disease, it’s important to continue seeing your dentist. We’ll be able to help you mitigate the effects of pregnancy gingivitis so you can maintain good oral health.

Dental Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Let our dentist know if you’re pregnant or suspect you might be. We take extra precautions during your dentist appointment to ensure the safety of you and your unborn child. For example, we may postpone certain dental procedures if you have a high-risk pregnancy. 

While a dental exam and teeth cleaning are safe at any point of your pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid major procedures during the first trimester. 

However, your dentist may recommend urgent dental care for an abscess tooth or other oral health emergency where there is risk of infection.

During pregnancy, we are still able to take some dental x-rays. The radiation from dental x-rays is perfectly safe for you and the baby. It allows our dentist to see what is happening inside your mouth. We share your concern for a healthy pregnancy, which is why we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Need an Appointment?

Our dentists are dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health by providing preventive dentistry services. To schedule your appointment with one of our Grandville dentists, call (616) 534-0080.

This blog post has been updated.