Pregnancy Gingivitis What is pregnancy gingivitis?
Gingivitis occurs when plaque, which contains bacteria, builds up on teeth and produces toxins that irritate the gums. If you have bleeding, red, puffy, sore, or inflamed gums, it’s probably gingivitis. (From dentalcare.com – “What is Gingivitis?)
Between 60% and 70% of women experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is caused by a rise in the hormone progesterone, which can trigger an increased response to plaque bacteria in the mouth, and may cause your gums to become sensitive, swollen and more likely to bleed when you brush and floss. These hormonal changes can also make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria to accumulate. While pregnancy gingivitis can occur anytime between the second and eighth month, it’s usually most severe during the second trimester.
An Example of Pregnancy Gingivitis
If you’re pregnant, your dental professional needs to know about the first signs of gingivitis symptoms. Gingivitis is most common during months two to eight of pregnancy. Tell your dental professional when you are pregnant—he or she may recommend more frequent dental cleanings during the second trimester or early in the third trimester to help combat the effects of increased progesterone and help you avoid gingivitis. This extra plaque may cause swelling, bleeding, redness and/or tenderness in the gums. As a result, pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis even if they follow a consistent oral health care routine.
Why is it important to manage pregnancy gingivitis?
Managing pregnancy gingivitis is important so that it doesn’t progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to serious oral health complications that could require surgery or lead to tooth loss. Your overall health – as well as the health of your baby - can be affected by the health of your teeth and gums.
What can I do to prevent pregnancy gingivitis?
Effective plaque removal is the most important thing you can do to prevent problems with pregnancy gingivitis. A consistent home care routine should start even before you are pregnant. Not all oral care products are the same, so be sure to choose a toothpaste and mouthwash designed to treat plaque and protect against gum problems. Also try a power brush to make plaque removal easier.
Oral care tips for a healthy pregnancy
Continue to visit your dental professional regularly
Use a rechargeable electric toothbrush and floss gently to prevent injury to delicate gum tissues
Use an anti-microbial toothpaste twice a day and floss daily
Rinse with an alcohol-free anti-microbial mouthwash
Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash after bouts with morning sickness to keep acids from affecting your teeth and gums
Follow a healthy diet including plenty of calcium, phosphorus, protein, and vitamins A, C, and D. Talk to your obstetrician about the need for vitamin supplements.
Avoid sugary snacks
While you are enjoying this exciting time of your life, remember that giving special attention to your teeth and gums will pay off down the road - - and set a great example for your baby!