Substance Use and Pregnancy

An aspect of substance use that should not be overlooked is its negative impact on your mouth and teeth. Substance use during pregnancy can also have negative effects on your baby. To learn more about the effects of drugs on your unborn baby or newborn, click here. Whether recreational or prescription, it is important to understand and be aware of a drug’s effect on your oral health, pregnancy, and overall health.

Prescription Drugs

Pregnancy can be an exciting time. However, many women need to take medicines when they are pregnant.  A common side affect of medications is dry mouth. Dry mouth limits saliva production in your mouth. Saliva helps neutralize the acids produced by plaque that can damage the hard surface of your teeth. Medicines can also affect the soft oral tissue in your mouth such as the gums, tongue and cheek lining.

Listed below are a few prescription drugs used to control medical conditions that have been most commonly known to cause dry mouth.  If you use of one these medications and/or experience dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dentist.  They may be able to recommend products that stimulate flow of saliva.

  • Antihypertensive (Medications to treat High Blood Pressure)
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Antipsychotic
  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Pain medications

Listed below are prescription drugs that have been known to cause gum overgrowth. If you are taking any of these medications, make sure you are thorough with your daily plaque removal/ oral hygiene.

  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Antihypertensive
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Immunosuppressants

Smoking during Pregnancy

Smoking can contribute to serious health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. Smoking can also increase the risk of oral health problems and make it difficult to treat.

Women who are pregnant should be aware of the dangers of continued smoking. If you are pregnant and continue to smoke, your baby’s health could be permanently harmed. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage. Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or to have low birth weight. Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have certain birth defects.

Some women who are pregnant try electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) in order to either help them quit smoking or because they may be less harmful. However, the e-juice can have nicotine which can affect a baby’s brain and lung development when pregnant women vape. There can also be increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Quitting smoking while you are pregnant is a great step for yourself and your baby. Many programs offer special services to help you quit smoking while you are pregnant. Please call 1-866-NEW-LUNG or 1- 800-NO-BUTTS if you want to quit smoking. You can also talk to your doctor about making a plan to stop smoking.

Even if you don’t smoke, if you live with people who do, their smoking can hurt you or your baby. Creating a smoke-free environment in your home will keep you and your baby healthy.