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How Gum Disease Can Hurt Your Pregnancy

Here's how to keep gum disease from having a bad impact on pregnancy, childbirth and your baby.

Scheduled appointment in dental clinic for pregnant woman

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It usually comes from a lack of brushing and flossing lets plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build up and harden on the teeth.

Gum disease can have a bad impact on pregnancy. A recent study showed gum disease can increase risk during pregnancy, including premature birth or even miscarriage. Premature babies are more likely to have serious medical problems. Those issues include cerebral palsy, mental disabilities, vision or hearing loss, or diseases of the lungs, stomach, or intestines, and more. They also have an increased risk of dying.

A healthy mouth helps to support a healthy pregnancy, so Medicaid programs usually provide dental benefits to pregnant women. This helps to encourage healthy habits that are good for the overall health of the mother and baby.

Good oral health habits help to prevent and manage gum disease. These habits include brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day.

Visit a dentist at least once while you're pregnant. The dentist will perform an oral exam and cleaning and may advise that you use products at home such as a mouth rinse or prescription fluoride toothpaste.

Connecting Pregnant Women to Dental Care

DentaQuest’s Smiling Stork Program encourages better dental care while you’re expecting. The program helps pregnant women to get dental care by working together with physicians, dentists, and community organizations. It provides educational items about:

  • getting dental benefits during pregnancy
  • screening for gum disease during pregnancy
  • setting up babies for good oral health
Preventistry Pulse


The newsletter designed for anyone who wants to improve oral health for themselves, their families, customers or communities.