Pregnancy can be associated with both major and minor oral health-related problems. Gingivitis is among the dental issues women may experience during pregnancy. About 60-75 percent of pregnant women in the US have gingivitis, according to the CDC. Failure to promptly attend to this condition may create more serious problems.
Gingivitis is defined as mild gum disease that results in inflammation of the gum tissue. It is attributed to poor oral care, which causes bacteria to build up, leading to plaque formation. Plaque, if not removed, hardens, forming tartar which is harder to remove and thus requires intervention by a dental professional.
How Pregnancy and Gingivitis Relate
Reasons for how pregnancy can cause gingivitis are still unclear. However, the link between the two stems from the surge in estrogen and progesterone hormones during pregnancy. There are also alterations in the immune system during this period. All these changes tend to increase blood flow to the gums, which as a result, tend to be swollen and more sensitive.
Gingivitis may occur during any point in pregnancy but it is considered more severe in the second trimester. Gingivitis and periodontitis are linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes. These include preterm birth and low birth weight. Thus, whatever the etiology of poor oral health during pregnancy might be, the consequences are severe enough to require that every prenatal care plan include diligent attention to good oral hygiene.
Symptoms Associated with Pregnancy Gingivitis
Predominant symptoms are similar to those experienced in non-pregnant gingivitis. They include bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, inflamed tender gum tissue, bad breath, wobbly teeth, and pain while chewing.
Treatment Guide for Pregnancy Gingivitis
Gingivitis associated with pregnancy can be managed through regular flossing and brushing using fluoride toothpaste. Increased intake of vitamin C and vitamin A are encouraged to help fight bacteria and improve teeth calcium, respectively. Gargling with salty water goes a long way in minimizing inflammation. A healthy diet is encouraged and sugary foods should be avoided.
There are various ways to manage gingivitis during pregnancy. To get professional help reach out to us and schedule an appointment with our periodontist.