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Updated on November 9, 2022

Is It Safe to Straighten Your Teeth While You're Pregnant?

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Braces and Invisalign are orthodontic treatments used to align your teeth and smile. Although pregnancy requires avoiding many things, orthodontic treatments are considered safe.

However, increased hormone production during pregnancy can negatively affect oral health. If you have braces or use clear aligners while pregnant, there are several things to keep in mind to keep your teeth healthy.

Is it Safe to Get Braces or Invisalign While Pregnant?

There is no medical reason to avoid getting braces or Invisalign while pregnant. Although the body undergoes several major changes during pregnancy, professionals agree that orthodontic treatments are safe.

Braces and Invisalign don’t affect anything other than teeth. Therefore, the baby will be safe and unaffected throughout treatment.

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Benefits of Orthodontics During Pregnancy

Orthodontic treatments are entirely safe to undergo while pregnant. Getting braces or clear aligners during pregnancy may even benefit some people. 

This is because you can:

  • Complete orthodontic treatment before your child is a toddler, which is often a challenging time for new mothers.
  • In some cases, take advantage of a less hectic schedule before having a baby.
  • Spend more time caring for your oral health and attend regular appointments.

Risks and Inconveniences of Having Braces While Pregnant

Pregnancy affects oral health. The three main ways in which pregnancy alters your oral health are:

Gum Inflammation

When you’re pregnant, you endure several hormonal changes. These hormonal changes can affect many different aspects of your body, including your oral health.

Pregnancy hormonal changes can increase your body’s reaction to plaque buildup. For example, the amount of plaque that may cause gingivitis in a non-pregnant person’s mouth can cause a severe reaction in a pregnant person. 

If not cared for, gingivitis during pregnancy can become severe. Gum disease is common in pregnant people.

Acid Erosion

Morning sickness is a common side effect of pregnancy. More than 70% of pregnant women experience throwing up due to pregnancy.1

Excessive vomiting can cause tooth erosion due to the high acid content.

During pregnancy, acid erosion can cause teeth to feel extremely sensitive. This may make wearing braces or Invisalign uncomfortable or even impossible.

Increased Risk of Decay

The hormones progesterone and estrogen heighten during pregnancy. These hormones can increase the risk of certain oral health problems, including tooth decay.

Tooth decay is often common during pregnancy because of dietary changes. For example, you may crave various unhealthy or sugary foods while carrying a child, which can lead to cavities

In addition, you may find yourself brushing or flossing less than average while pregnant. This can be due to gum and teeth sensitivity. Lack of flossing and brushing can lead to cavities and gum disease.

We recommend at-home clear aligners if you have mild teeth misalignment. View our top recommendations.

Tips for Protecting Oral Health While Pregnant

Caring for your teeth while pregnant is essential to good health. Oral health becomes even more critical if you undergo orthodontic treatment during pregnancy.

Here are some tips for how to best care for your teeth while you are pregnant:

Rinse After Morning Sickness

Morning sickness causes acid erosion, which can severely damage teeth. To ensure morning sickness doesn’t negatively impact your teeth, rinse your mouth thoroughly after vomiting. 

Instead of brushing right after vomiting, rinse your mouth with water and baking soda to neutralize the acid in your mouth. Brushing directly after throwing up can remove the softened enamel layer of your teeth. 

It is recommended to wait 30 minutes after an acid attack to brush your teeth, this includes eating, drinking or vomiting.

Drink Plenty of Water

Dry mouth is a common symptom of pregnancy. Saliva neutralizes acid after you eat sugar, and it keeps the mouth lubricated. If you lack saliva and eat sugar, mouth bacteria can create an acid that eats away at your teeth’s surface.

To prevent tooth decay while pregnant, avoid sugary foods and beverages. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. 

Fixed braces or Invisalign can make cleaning your teeth challenging. Therefore, decay and discoloration become more likely. 

In addition to drinking lots of water, consider using a Waterpik to clean your teeth thoroughly. 

Attend Regular Dental Cleanings

Schedule regular dentist visits for routine cleanings and check-ups. This ensures optimal oral health and can also serve as preventative care.

A dentist can spot any adverse changes in your oral health. They can then treat any decay, cavities, or gum disease immediately. 

Is Radiation From X-rays a Risk During Pregnancy?

According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth’s resident dentists, radiation in the form of X-rays is a concern during pregnancy. It is best to reduce or avoid exposure to even small amounts of radiation while pregnant. 

However, wearing a lead apron that covers your neck and abdominal region ensures the developing baby is not exposed to radiation from the imaging. 

The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians report that it is typically safe for an orthodontist to take digital images of the teeth during pregnancy when proper shielding is used. 

Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.

Summary

  • Braces and aligners are safe to wear during pregnancy
  • Undergoing orthodontic treatment during pregnancy may be beneficial, as you may have more time to attend appointments and look after your oral health
  • Increased hormones during pregnancy can cause tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and decay
  • Reduce or avoid exposure to even small amounts of radiation while pregnant
  • Experts say it is typically safe for an orthodontist to take digital images of the teeth during pregnancy when proper shielding is used
  • Take extra steps to keep your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy

What’s Next?

The most popular at-home clear aligner kits can be found right here:

Learn about the different brands and what they offer.

8 Sources Cited
Last updated on November 9, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Yenen Z, Ataçağ T. “Oral care in pregnancy.” J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc, 2019.
  2. Vt H, T M, T S, Nisha V A, A A. “Dental considerations in pregnancy-a critical review on the oral care.” J Clin Diagn Res, 2013.
  3. Anita M. Mark. “Pregnancy and oral health.” JADA, 2021.
  4. Nancy W. Burkhart. “Preventing dental erosion in the pregnant patient.” RDH Magazine, 2012. 
  5. Pregnancy and Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  6. Cho, G.J., Kim, Sy., Lee, H.C., et al. “Association between dental caries and adverse pregnancy outcomes.” Sci Rep 10, 2020.
  7. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women. “Oral Health Care During Pregnancy and Through the Lifespan (Number 569),” 2013; Reaffirmed 2017.
  8. American Dental Association. “ADA Current Policies,” 2021.
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