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From the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center “Two Healthy Smiles” Pregnancy Brochure - English  Brochure in English /  Spanish - Español Brochure in Spanish

While you are pregnant

Get Dental Care

  • Get a dental checkup. It is safe to have dental care when you are pregnant. Do not put it off until after you have the baby.
  • Health Plan of San Mateo Dental covers dental services while you are pregnant and after you have the baby. Click here for more details about coverage.
  • Some dental offices will request a referral from your OB/GYN to schedule a dental appointment. Tell the dental office staff that you are pregnant and your due date. This will help the dental team keep you comfortable.
  • The dental team may recommend rinses with fluoride or chewing gum with xylitol, which can help reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gingivitis.
  • Talk to your doctor if you need help getting dental care or making an appointment.

Brush and Floss

  • Changes to your body when you are pregnant can make your gums sore, puffy, and red if you do not brush and floss every day. This problem is called gingivitis (gin-gih-vi-tis). If gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to periodontal (pear-ee-oh-don-tuhl) disease. This disease can cause tooth loss.
  • To prevent or control tooth decay, brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride (floor-ide) twice a day.
  • Floss once a day before bedtime.
  • If you cannot brush your teeth because you feel sick, rinse your mouth with water or a mouth rinse that has fluoride.
  • If you vomit, rinse your mouth with water.

Eat Healthy Foods

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products like bread or crackers, and dairy products like milk, yogurt, or cheese. Lean meats, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts are also good choices. Eat foods that have sugar at mealtimes only.
  • Drink water or low-fat milk instead of juice, fruit-flavored drinks, or soda.
  • Drink water at least a few times a day, especially between meals and snacks.
  • Eat fewer sweets like candy, cookies, or cake. Drink fewer sugary drinks like fruit-flavored drinks or soda. Eat sweets or drink sugary drinks at mealtimes only.
  • Look for products, like chewing gum or mints, that contain xylitol (zy-lih-tohl).

After the baby is born

After your baby is born, it is important for you to keep brushing with toothpaste. You also need to floss, eat healthy foods, and get dental care. When your mouth is healthy, your baby is more likely to have a healthy mouth, too.

Care for Your Baby’s Gums and Teeth

  • Breast milk is best! Breastfeed your baby for 6 months or longer if you can.
  • Clean your baby’s gums after every feeding. Use a clean, damp washcloth. This will wipe away germs and sugars that can cause cavities.
  • Germs can pass from your mouth to your baby’s mouth. Use a different spoon to taste your baby’s food. Clean your baby’s pacifier with water. Do not use your mouth to clean it.
  • When your baby gets his first tooth (usually around 6 to 10 months), begin brushing their teeth with toothpaste with fluoride twice a day. Use a small smear of toothpaste.
  • Do not put your baby to sleep with a bottle filled with breast milk, formula, juice, or sugary drinks like fruit-flavored drinks or soda.
  • Take your baby to the dentist by the time they are 1 year old to have their teeth and gums checked.