Mope is 7 months pregnant and came to the dental office complaining of bleeding gums and shifting of her previously perfect pearly white teeth!
What Mope doesn’t know is that during Pregnancy, the hormonal changes can wreck havoc on her Oral health.
What is pregnancy gingivitis?
During pregnancy, your progesterone hormone levels are high. This increase makes you more susceptible to developing the bacterial plaque that can attack your gums.
Symptoms of gingivitis include: Swollen gums, Tender puffy gums, Bleeding gums, Receding gums,, Bad breath etc.
Pregnancy gingivitis most commonly develops between 1st and 2nd trimester. It may reach a peak during the third trimester. Pregnant women also face an increased risk of both tooth decay and loose teeth.
How to prevent Pregnancy gingivitis: You may not be able to control your hormones, but there are many things you can do to protect your teeth and gums before and during your pregnancy.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice each day. Toothpaste that contains fluoride provides an extra barrier of protection. Make sure you’re using a soft bristled toothbrush. Flossing at least once each day helps catch any trapped food particles and bacteria in between your teeth.
- Eat a healthy diet: You may not feel the best during pregnancy, especially in your first trimester. But try to eat a diet rich in balanced, whole foods. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products etc. Choose water or milk over juices and sodas. Stay away from foods that are sugary or starchy, like candy, cookies/cakes, and dried fruits. Over time, all those sugars and starches can attack your teeth and gums. These nutrition tips aren’t just good for your mouth, they’re also great to follow if you want to keep your body and baby-to-be healthy.
- Gargle with Warm Saline Rinse: Starting to notice a little swelling or bleeding when you brush? Add a salt gargle to your routine. These may reduce inflammation from gingivitis and help to heal your gums. To try this at home, dilute 1 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of warm water. Swish this mixture around in your mouth a few times and spit out (don’t swallow) when you’re done.
- Visit your dentist: You should have dental visits at least twice a year, even when pregnant. Don’t miss your scheduled cleaning and ask about additional appointments to help monitor your oral health. Your dentist can spot small issues before they turn into large problems.
Treatments for pregnancy gingivitis:
- Dentist may prescribe Oral antibiotics that fight bacterial infection. Mouthwashes that can treat gum disease may also be prescribed. In advanced cases, surgery is an option.
- Make sure your dentist knows about any allergies to medications you may have. You should provide a list of all the vitamins, supplements, and other over-the-counter or prescription medications you’re taking in your pregnancy to avoid potential drug interactions
Complications of pregnancy gingivitis: Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of gum disease that can spread down to the bone. Increased risk of preterm birth or low birth weight, among other health conditions can arise from it. Remember, the gums hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, gingivitis may eventually lead to tooth loss.
When to see your dentist: Contact your dentist if you’ve noticed any changes in your teeth or gums that you think should be immediately addressed. Sometimes pregnant women develop “pregnancy tumors” on the gums. These lumps are benign and usually go away after you deliver. Still, they can bleed and your dentist can remove them if they bother you.
Keep up with regularly scheduled cleanings during your pregnancy and ask your dentist if they recommend more frequent visits. You can usually schedule X-rays for after your pregnancy if you’re worried about the risk of radiation. The good news is that after you deliver your baby, your gums should return back to normal relatively quickly. If you continue to experience pain and discomfort, let your dentist know.
Call our office at 0700DENTIST or 0811-113-1200 if you have questions or concerns regarding pregnancy and gingivitis.