Pregnancy presents unique dental concerns for many women. Some of the most common problems during pregnancy include tooth decay and gum disease, which has been linked to up to 18 percent of premature births. Hormonal changes during pregnancy make the gums more vulnerable to the accumulation of plaque, which can lead to gum inflammation and bleeding. In fact, between 60 and 75 percent of pregnant women experience gingivitis.
To prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, dentists might suggest preventive scaling and more frequent dental check-ups during pregnancy. Pregnant women should also receive professional cleanings and cavity fillings.
Tooth decay can also occur during pregnancy, as women with morning sickness experience increased acidity in the mouth due to vomiting and reflux. When gastric acid from the stomach enters the oral environment, it can coat and decay tooth enamel. To mitigate this risk, pregnant women should brush thoroughly with fluoridated toothpaste several times a day, floss regularly, and rinse their mouths with alcohol-free mouthwash after vomiting.