Pregnancy and oral health: how proper dental care may help prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes


By Tracy Taddey, DDS

Every year, over six million U.S. women become pregnant – and subsequently find themselves with the monumental responsibility of caring not only for their own health and well being, but for that of their unborn child as well. While many warnings related to pregnancy risk (such as advisories against the use of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and other potentially harmful substances) are fairly well known, others – including the possible link between periodontal infection and negative pregnancy outcomes – are far less commonly discussed. According to the New York State Department of Health, “emerging evidence shows an association between periodontal infection and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as premature delivery and low birth weight.” As noted in the San Diego County Dental Society Journal, these connections underline the importance of adequate dental care and oral hygiene throughout pregnancy.

While routine dental care should be a part of every individual’s health regimen, certain special considerations apply to dental care for pregnant women. The following are a list of tips for optimal oral care throughout pregnancy, designed to keep expectant mothers healthy and infection-free for both their own safety and that of their unborn babies.

  • Upon becoming pregnant, women should discuss oral health care options and priorities with both their prenatal and dental health care providers. Despite common concern, it is perfectly safe and effective for women to receive traditional dental care during pregnancy.
  • Dental treatments and exams (including emergency care) can be performed at any time during pregnancy. However, for the sake of patient comfort and convenience, the time period between the 14thand 20thweeks is ideal for dental examination appointments since it falls between the first and third trimesters, when discomfort and side effects of pregnancy are most common.
  • Elective treatments may be deferred until after delivery; but when it comes to necessary procedures, it is important for women to seek prompt care to avoid risk to their own health and that of the fetus.

Family-oriented, compassionate dental care for expectant mothers with your local La Jolla dentists

Pregnancy is a unique time in every woman’s life, and one in which compassionate health care is of the utmost importance. At our La Jolla dental practice, we strive to make oral health care an educational, relaxing and personal experience, and encourage pregnant women and their families to visit our comfortable, calming and family-friendly office for all their dental health needs. By blending state-of-the-art technology with a personal touch, our family-run practice seeks to exceed the standard. But don’t take our word for it: contact us today or go online to learn more, at