Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be more likely to have a low birth weight (LBW), premature baby. Don't skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.

  • Pregnant women are at risk for developing pregnancy tumors which are inflammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated
  • 70% of prenatal deaths are associated with LBW
  • In the United States 10% of births are associated with LBW
  • It is recommended to visit your dentist before, during and after pregnancy to maintain good oral health for you and your baby.

Why is it important to see my dentist if I’m pregnant?

If you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect you are pregnant you should see your dentist right away.  By visiting your dentist in your first trimester, your dentist can map out a dental plan for the rest of your pregnancy.  Pregnant women also may develop pregnancy gingivitis with gums that are red, tender and likely to bleed. Untreated periodontal disease can assist the movement of bacteria from the mouth into the blood stream where it can increase the level of labor-inducing fluid. All infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby.

Hawaii March of Dimes Report Card 2012

The March of Dimes grades states by comparing each state’s rate of preterm birth to the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the United States. We don’t yet understand all the factors that contribute to preterm birth. The nation must continue to make progress in research to identify causes and prevention strategies, and on interventions and quality improvement initiatives to improve outcomes.


birth chart


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