85% of Pregnant Women Suffer From Oral Problems

Many pregnant women suffer from oral problems during pregnancy and this carries a huge risk to their health and that of their babies.
85% of Pregnant Women Suffer From Oral Problems

Last update: 06 October, 2021

Discomfort in the mouth and gums are very common conditions during pregnancy. According to a health study carried out during 2020 by Sanitas, it was determined that 85% of pregnant women suffer from oral problems at this stage.

The physical and hormonal changes typical of pregnancy affect a woman’s oral health. Being aware of this association is essential so that pregnant women know what risks they face and also to prevent or reduce bothersome symptoms.

In the following article, we’ll talk about the most common pregnancy conditions and why they occur. Also, we’ll share some recommendations regarding how to take care of oral health during gestation.

Why do pregnant women have oral problems?

During pregnancy, the woman’s body undergoes a series of physical and hormonal changes necessary for the development of the new being. Sometimes, these transformations negatively affect the oral health of the pregnant woman and predispose her to suffer from diseases.

In general terms, the hormonal alterations typical of this stage promote the development of bacterial plaque. Failure to adequately control this puts the woman at risk of suffering from oral diseases such as cavities, gingivitis, or periodontal disease.

At the same time, the woman’s body increases blood supply to its entirety, including the soft tissues of the mouth. Because of this, and because of the accumulation of bacterial plaque, the gums swell more easily and bleed with minor trauma.

Finally, during pregnancy, there are certain changes in the diet that lead to the woman not eating properly. This also favors the appearance of oral problems.

A pregnant woman witting in bed eating sweets.

The most frequent oral problems in pregnancy

According to an oral health study published by Sanitas in 2020, cavities and gingivitis appear to be the most frequent problems in pregnant women. Likewise, the inflammation of the gums turns out to be more noticeable in the third and eighth months of pregnancy.

Next, we’ll mention the most common oral conditions that occur during pregnancy. Keep reading!


Due to hormonal changes and the accumulation of bacterial plaque, an exaggerated inflammatory response occurs in the gingival tissue (gingivitis). Therefore, the gums take on a deep red color, swell, hurt, and bleed easily.

Periodontal disease

This is the natural evolution of untreated gingivitis, which affects the deep tissues that support the teeth.

This inflammation and infection of the periodontium cause the loss of the alveolar bone, favor tooth mobility, and, in severe cases, they’re the cause of tooth loss. In addition, during pregnancy, the risk of premature deliveries and low birth weight increases.


Bacteria in the mouth ferment the carbohydrates in the diet and produce the acids responsible for the loss of hard tissue from the teeth. Some of the pregnancy factors that promote tooth decay are the following:

  • The accumulation of bacterial plaque
  • Changes in hygiene habits due to nausea
  • A diet rich in sugar, typical of cravings
  • A great decrease in the production of saliva (xerostomia), due to hormonal reasons

Pregnancy epulis

This is the enlargement of a localized area of the gum that’s associated with gingivitis. It’s a benign tumor that increases in volume during pregnancy, hurts, bleeds, and makes chewing or speaking difficult.

It usually disappears spontaneously after childbirth, although surgery can eliminate it if it causes a lot of discomfort.


As we mentioned earlier, the decrease in saliva production due to the effect of pregnancy hormones is a very common condition during this stage.

How to avoid oral problems in pregnant women

The best way to avoid oral problems during pregnancy is to seek necessary hygiene care and maintain routine dental check-ups.

Ideally, visit the dentist before you get pregnant, when you’re still in the planning stage. This way, the professional performs all the necessary treatments in order to leave the mouth in optimal conditions before conception.

During pregnancy, it’s essential that the expectant mother removes bacterial plaque correctly in order to prevent it from accumulating and forming tartar. Tooth and gum hygiene should involve a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste at least three times a day.

If the patient has nausea or sensitivity during brushing, she should find a way to cope with these situations and continue with oral hygiene. Neglecting the oral cavity at this stage leads to bothersome and even dangerous consequences.

Pregnant women also need to take the time to clean their teeth well, with careful and slow movements. Using electric brushes and other toothpaste flavors can help counteract the feeling of disgust.

Oral cleaning should go hand in hand with the use of dental floss to eliminate bacteria that accumulate between the teeth. In addition, the dentist may recommend the use of a special mouthwash.

Finally, it’s important to take into account the fact that diet is another key factor in preventing frequent oral problems in pregnant women.

The ideal diet should provide proteins, vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and folic acid in sufficient quantities. In addition, eating foods that are high in sugar (candy, pastries, and soft drinks) should be reduced to the maximum.

A pregnant woman brushing her teeth.

The importance of dental visits in pregnancy

A key aspect in prevention is to visit the dentist frequently, from the moment the pregnancy is confirmed and throughout each trimester.

The professional will control the state of the mouth, prescribe necessary treatments, and indicate the appropriate time to perform them. In general, during the second trimester of pregnancy for greater comfort and safety.

At the same time, the dentist will advise the future mother regarding all the necessary measures to keep her mouth healthy. In line with this, they’ll perform a dental cleaning and apply fluoride, when required and as long as nausea allows.

In case of any dental emergency, pain, or infection, the pregnant woman should go to the dentist immediately to solve the situation. These conditions produce stress, contractions, and put the fetus at risk, as they increase the risk of premature birth.

By caring for your mouth and keeping it healthy, you can wait for the arrival of your future baby in the best conditions possible.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chaguay Alvarado, J. S. (2021). Enfermedades bucodentales relacionadas con el embarazo (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad de Guayaquil. Facultad Piloto de Odontología).
  • Zambrano Vega, J. R. (2018). Complicaciones odontológicas en mujeres embarazadas (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad de Guayaquil. Facultad De Odontología).
  • Sanz, E. M., Lara, I. P., & Álvarez, C. M. (2018). La importancia de la salud bucodental durante el embarazo. Gaceta dental: Industria y profesiones, (301), 142-150.
  • García, R. C., Culqui, S. F., Benalcázar, R. Q., Raymi, A. C., Navarro, M. P., & Vásquez, Ó. T. (2019). Enfermedad periodontal asociada al embarazo. Revista Científica Odontológica7(1), 132-139.
  • Cordero, M. J. A., Rivero-Blanco, T., Leon-Rios, X., Rodriguez-Blanque, R., & Gil-Montoya, J. A. (2018). La Enfermedad Periodontal como factor de riesgo de complicaciones durante el embarazo y parto. Journal of Negative and No Positive Results3(11), 906-922.
  • Amparo, B., & Ocaña, R. (2020). Relación entre enfermedad periodontal en embarazadas y bajo peso al nacer (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo 2020).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.