Dental Caries

In addition to gingivitis and periodontitis, pregnancy also increases the risk for dental caries.


  • Caries can be symptom free in early stages
  • Changes to the tooth include white spots, which become brown spots and then cavities (a hole in the tooth)
  • Once a cavity forms, the root becomes exposed and pain occurs


    • Bacteria (strep mutans and others) metabolize carbohydrates to create acids that erode the tooth enamel surface
    • Individual, behavioral, and societal contributing factors are covered in Oral Disease Risk Factors topic.


  • Prevention is key - good oral hygiene, healthy diet, routine dental visits
  • Once cavities occur, restorations (fillings), extractions, and/or root canal are needed

This process is reviewed in greater depth in the Smiles for Life "Child Oral Health" module.