When you’re pregnant, you open the door to an entirely new universe of worries and joys. Preoccupied as you are with the life that is growing in you, gum health is most likely very low on your priority list (if it’s included at all).
Unfortunately, though, few women are aware of the prevalence of pregnancy gingivitis and the effects it can have on the mother and the infant’s health.
Now we don’t want to add another thing to your list of things to worry about, but we do want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself during pregnancy. So let’s have a quick look at the causes, treatment and prevention of pregnancy gingivitis.
What causes pregnancy gingivitis?
Hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy can wreak havoc on oral health. Problems like periodontal disease are very common during this time – but that doesn’t mean you should take them lightly.
During pregnancy, there is a rise in the level of progesterone, which contributes to a faster accumulation of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Not only are you more prone to cavities, but there’s also a higher likelihood of developing gum disease.
- The most common symptoms of gingivitis are:
- Red gums
- Swollen gums
- Excessive bleeding
- Bad breath
Pregnancy gingivitis develops between months 2 and 8. Since it isn’t painful per se, it might go unnoticed in its early stages. If you notice excessive bleeding when you brush your teeth, floss or eat, it’s time to book an appointment with your dentist.
Why should you treat pregnancy gingivitis?
Even though the symptoms might not be concerning (or uncommon), it’s vital that you treat pregnancy gingivitis as soon as possible.
First of all, mothers-to-be also have an increased risk of loose teeth and cavities, which in combination with gingivitis can lead to very unpleasant oral problems. These might put you in the dentist’s chair more often than you would like.
Secondly, there are some studies that have found a link between pregnancy gingivitis and preterm, low birth-weight deliveries. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology, “Periodontopathogens produce toxins and enzymes that can enter the bloodstream and cross the placenta to harm the fetus. The response of the mother’s immune system to infection by these periodontopathogens brings about the release of inflammatory mediators which may trigger preterm labour or result in low birth-weight infants.”
If you’ve already developed a bad case of gum disease, try not to worry too much. Your dentist can clean the plaque and help you maintain good oral health.
In less serious cases, a rigorous oral health routine can make a big difference and spare you the inconvenience of a more aggressive treatment.
How can you prevent pregnancy gingivitis?
You might not be able to control the raging hormones causing gingivitis, but you can protect your teeth through proper hygiene.
Here are some things that can prevent and even treat gingivitis in early stages:
- Good oral hygiene – brush twice a day and floss once a day (yes, every day!)
- Good nutrition: vitamin-rich vegetables, grains, nuts and dairy should be part of your daily diet.
- Salt gargles: dilute 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water and gargle that bacteria away.
- Regular visits to the dentist: you should visit your dentist twice a year, even when you’re pregnant.
Keeping those gums healthy while pregnant is even more important than in normal circumstances. If you’ve developed symptoms and need to get your teeth checked, make sure you contact your friendly dentists in Brassall!Leave a reply →