Pregnancy and Oral Health Facts

At a glance

Review facts and data about oral health during pregnancy in the United States.

Fast facts

  • During pregnancy, women may be more prone to gum disease and cavities.1
  • Pregnant women are more likely to develop an early stage of periodontal disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when the gums become red and swollen (inflamed) and may be worsened by changing hormones during pregnancy.2
  • One in four women of childbearing age have untreated cavities.34
  • Children of mothers who have high levels of untreated cavities or tooth loss are more than 3 times as likely to have cavities.5
  • Children with poor oral health status are nearly 3 times more likely to miss school because of dental pain.6
  • Regular and emergency dental care is safe at any stage of pregnancy.7
  • Women are encouraged to seek routine dental care during pregnancy.7
  1. Wu M, Chen S, Jiang S. Relationship between gingival inflammation and pregnancy. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:623427. doi: 10.1155/2015/623427
  2. Niessen LC. Women's health. In: Patton LL, Glick M, eds. The ADA Practical Guide to Patients With Medical Conditions. 2nd ed. Wiley Blackwell; 2016:423–434.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Table 28, Untreated Dental Caries, by Selected Characteristics: Selected Years 1988–1994 through 2013–2016. Accessed July 7, 2020. [PDF-119KB]
  4. Dye BA, Thornton-Evans G, Li X, Iafolla TJ. Dental Caries and Tooth Loss in Adults in the United States, 2011–2012. NCHS Data Brief 197. National Center for Health Statistics; 2015. Accessed July 8, 2020. [PDF-608KB]
  5. Dye BA, Vargas CM, Lee JJ, Magder L, Tinanoff N. Assessing the relationship between children's oral health status and that of their mothers. J Am Dent Assoc. 2011;142(2):173–183. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2011.0061
  6. Jackson SL, Vann WF, Kotch JB, Pahel BT, Lee JY. Impact of poor oral health on children's school attendance and performance. Am J Public Health. 2011;101(10):1900–1906. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.200915
  7. Oral Health Care During Pregnancy Expert Workgroup. Oral Health Care During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement. National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center; 2012.