during pregnancy

 during pregnancy

Dra. Dª. Ana María Roca Ruiz, Doctor and Dentist, Master in Nutrition

Changes that occur in pregnancy make the expectant mother more susceptible to gingivitis and tooth decay . Proper dental hygiene and nutritional habits banish the old myth that every pregnancy costs a tooth.

During pregnancy it is necessary to take extreme dental care

During pregnancy, great changes occur in women at all levels: physical, chemical and psychological. This makes the oral cavity of the pregnant woman more susceptible to gingivitis and cavities.

● Gingivitis

Gingivitis consists of an inflammation of the gums that appear red, edematous, sensitive and with a tendency to spontaneous bleeding or by small stimuli such as chewing or brushing the teeth. During pregnancy, this alteration is so frequent and specific that it is called pregnancy gingivitis. This is more evident from the third month of pregnancy.

If the woman previously had gingivitis or periodontal disease, it worsens during pregnancy. It may not previously exist and is triggered during this stage.

This happens because during pregnancy there is an increase in hormones called prolactin and estrogens , which condition changes in the structures of the entire body and, among them, especially in the tissues of the mouth. These tissues increase blood flow and suffer a greater inflammatory capacity in the face of external local irritants.

Bacterial plaque would act more aggressively on gums whose state is influenced by hormones, poor nutrition, changing eating habits or dental hygiene guidelines.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontal disease with damage to the tissues that connect the bone to the tooth, partial loss of bone and risk of tooth loss. In a small percentage, a localized enlargement of the gingiva is observed, which is called a granuloma, epulis or pregnancy tumor.

● Caries

It is also more common during pregnancy. Several authors have studied a change in the bacterial flora of the mouth during this stage, which together with a greater appetite of the pregnant woman for carbohydrates in general and sweets in particular increases the risk of cavities. For this reason, during this time, specific care must be followed to preserve oral health, which includes not only careful oral hygiene but also adequate nutrition.



It is essential to have a balanced diet not only to avoid oral disorders but also for the general health of the mother and her baby. The process of forming a baby’s teeth begins between the third and sixth month of pregnancy.

An adequate supply of vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin D and minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, whose contribution is essential for the formation of the bones and teeth of the future baby, is important. An adequate supply of lipids is also necessary , among which are essential fatty acids. The essential fatty acids are linoleic and alpha-linolenic, which are precursors of Omega 3 and Omega 6, and are essential, among other things, for the proper development of the nervous system. The quality proteins provided by meat, fish, eggs and milk are essential as a building material for all the baby’s organs.

An adequate supply of carbohydrates is also important , but we must distinguish between complex and simple carbohydrates. So-called complex hydrates are preferable, such as bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. These are the main source of slow-release energy and are necessary for a proper nutritional balance and for the development of the baby. Simple or refined carbohydrates are more cariogenic than complex ones; Sugar and sweet foods such as candies, cakes, pastries, etc. belong to this group, which have a great potential to produce cavities and should therefore be avoided.


Oral hygiene

It is necessary at this stage of pregnancy to take extreme dental care . The oral disorders typical of pregnancy, although frequent, are not inevitable and can be prevented by performing adequate oral hygiene with brushing after meals and using dental floss. Careful cleaning will remove the plaque that is the cause of tooth decay and gingivitis. It is preferable to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride , which is antibacterial and strengthens tooth enamel.


Visits to the dentist

The ideal is to start the pregnancy with a healthy mouth, without cavities or other problems such as gingivitis, tartar, phlegmons, etc. since these pathologies not only affect the health of the mother, but also that of the child. It is advisable to make regular visits to the dentist, who will be able to carry out the appropriate treatments and detect and prevent any alteration so that oral health is optimal. If you have not gone before, dental check-ups can be done without problem during pregnancy. And if you are not in the habit of going to the dentist every six months, this is a good time to start doing it.

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