As an expectant mother, you’ve got about a thousand rules to remember and live by: from foods you can’t eat to foods you should eat to staying away from or participating in exercise, it’s a lot to take in. That being said, we’ve got another task that you should be extra careful about while pregnant, and it’s one that you might not think would be relevant while you’re carrying – gingivitis.
What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?
You’re probably already familiar with gingivitis: swollen, red gums that bleed when brushed and can lead to more serious gum diseases like periodontitis. At least 40% of pregnant women suffer from pregnancy gingivitis. This is caused by increased levels of progesterone during pregnancy, which makes it easier for the bacteria that causes gingivitis to grow, making the body more susceptible to plaque and the toxins that the plaque can cause. In fact, if you already suffer from gum disease, pregnancy can make it worse.
The symptoms normally start between the second and eighth month of pregnancy, but normally it increases in severity during your second trimester. Redden gums that bleed a little to extremely swollen and bleeding gums are typical symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis. The gingivitis tends to subside after giving birth, similar to gestational diabetes.
Can Pregnancy Gingivitis Affect My Pregnancy?
In short, yes it can. There have been a few major studies that have shown a link between gum disease during pregnancy and premature birth and low birthing weights in infants. Some studies have even seen a link between pregnancy gingivitis and preeclampsia as well.
Additionally, pregnancy gingivitis has also been shown to cause “pregnancy tumors,” a scary term for a benign and harmless symptom. Small tumors can develop on the upper gum line that can make it awkward or uncomfortable when you talk, eat, or drink. These tumors will disappear after you give birth.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself or to Prevent Pregnancy Gingivitis?
To protect against or prevent gingivitis while pregnant, just remember to maintain good oral health habits: brush twice a day, floss daily, and use a microbial (no-alcohol) mouthwash. A good offense is a good defense! Be proactive about the health of your teeth and gums and you shouldn’t have any problems when you become pregnant.
Remember to tell your dentist when you become pregnant as it can affect your cleaning or treatment. Your dentist can provide more recommendations for treatment if you discover that you have gingivitis while pregnant as well.
Contact Hamby Family Dental Center for more information
Whether you need a checkup and a cleaning or would like more information, Hamby Family Dental Center is here for you! Contact us today by calling (919) 552-2431 or by filling out an appointment request.