Ready Steady Baby


Looking after your teeth and gums in pregnancy

Looking after your teeth and gums and seeing your dentist regularly will help to keep your mouth healthy and ease any discomfort during pregnancy.

Gum disease (gingivitis)

Many pregnant women get a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. If you have it, your gums:

  • become swollen, red and tender
  • may bleed when you brush your teeth or floss

It’s caused when your body produces more of the hormone progesterone which boosts the blood supply to mouth and makes gums more sensitive to bacteria.

Once your baby’s born, pregnancy gingivitis should go away.

More about gum disease

Keeping your mouth healthy

To keep your mouth healthy:

  • brush your teeth twice a day for a full 2 minutes
  • use a toothpaste that has 1000 to 1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride in it
  • spit out toothpaste when you’ve finished, but don’t rinse
  • keep brushing twice a day and see your dentist or hygienist if your gums carry on bleeding
  • if you’ve been sick, don’t brush your teeth straight afterwards as this can damage the surface of your teeth – use an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash instead

More about looking after your oral health

NHS dental care

While you’re pregnant and for the first year after your baby’s born, you can get free NHS dental treatment. If you have a non-NHS dentist, they’re not obliged to offer you free treatment.

Keep going to your dentist and dental hygienist regularly. It’s a good idea to tell them you’re pregnant so they can give you the right information and advice. They can also tell you about the Childsmile programme which will help you look after your baby’s teeth as they grow.

If you’re not registered with a dentist, now is a good time to do it.

How to register with a dentist in Scotland

NHS Patient Claims Team

The NHS Patient Claims team can answer any questions that you might have about entitlements to dental care throughout pregnancy and after your baby’s born.

How to contact the NHS Patient Claims Team

Further information, other languages and alternative formats

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.

If you need a different language or format, please contact

Last updated:
14 December 2023