Caring for oral health is something everyone should be vigilant about … brushing twice daily, flossing, and visiting the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and dental exam should be considered as standard care. However, for women considering pregnancy, the need for this vigilance is even more important.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissues, and this is usually considered one of the first signs of the onset of gum disease. During pregnancy a woman experiences hormonal changes … an increased level of progesterone makes the bacteria that causes gingivitis more prevalent and active.
This does not mean that every pregnant woman is going to develop gum disease. But it does indicate that women susceptible to issues related to gum disease are more likely to experience symptoms of gingivitis or the more advanced stage of periodontitis during pregnancy. If symptoms have advanced, the patient may see gum tissue pulling away from teeth or teeth may feel loose.
Some of the symptoms of gingivitis include red gum tissue. Normal healthy gum tissue is pink. Gums may bleed during brushing; bleeding without provocation indicates a worsening condition. Gum tissue may appear puffy or swollen as well. Bad breath may be present.
The onset of gingivitis can contribute to the development of sores in the mouth known as pregnancy tumors. Not to be confused with cancerous tumors, these sores often go away after birth. But their presence may make eating and speaking uncomfortable.
Women who experience chronic gum disease should see their dentist right away after discovering they are pregnant. It is important to advise your dental provider of your condition as well as how far into your term you are. Your dentist can prescribe an antimicrobial rinse. Brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste is also recommended.
Failure to care for your teeth during pregnancy can be problematic for your newborn. Chronic gum disease is attributable to premature births and underweight babies.
There are steps you can take before, during, and after pregnancy to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Brushing thoroughly with a fluoridated tooth paste at least twice every day (an electronic toothbrush is a great aid that helps to control the pressure exerted during brushing as well as provides a signal when you’ve brushed the recommended two minutes); floss daily rinsing thoroughly to rid the mouth of bacteria; and keep regularly scheduled dental appointments.
Are you overdue for a dental appointment? Schedule one with our team today!