Being pregnant comes with a lot of changes. Changes in the way you feel. And major changes in your body and in particular, with your mouth. During this exciting time of the development of your baby, all of the changes that come with pregnancy can cause to develop bleeding gums that you never experienced before. Or it is exaggerate now that you are pregnant. This is what is called pregnancy gingivitis.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis, plain and simple, is inflammation of your gums. This happens as a result of the plaque, the clear, white film filled with bacteria, that sits on your teeth near the gum line and irritates your gums. When you are pregnant, pregnancy gingivitis is more likely to develop because of the increase in blood flow and changes in hormones. In particular, the increase of progesterone. Pregnancy gingivitis may seem like an innocent side effect that comes with pregnancy. But its not. Gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease or gum disease.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums that causes the destruction of the jaw bone that supports your teeth. Over time, the destructive process of gums disease can cause you to lose your teeth. A gummy smile is only cute on newborn babies. So let’s not go don’t that road. Gum disease is like diabetes. You never stop having diabetes, you only control your diabetes.
You control gum disease with an initial gum treatment or deep cleaning. Then maintain with frequent cleanings, or periodontal maintenance, every 3 months. The problem with gum disease is it has been linked to other diseases like heart disease and diabetes. And is has also been linked to low birth weight in pregnant women. Especially during pregnancy you want to take precautions in preventing gingivitis and gum disease.
What are the signs of pregnancy gingivitis?
- Red gums
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tenderness with your gums
What can done to prevent pregnancy gingivitis?
The good news is gingivitis is reversible. However, it does take some effort to treat and prevent gingivitis.
Brush twice a day
First, maintain good oral hygiene. Make sure that you are brushing your teeth twice a day. And flossing once day. The bacteria in plaque is the culprit with pregnancy gingivitis. The goal is to remove the plaque to prevent gingivitis. Plaque forms on your teeth every day. This is why it is so important to brush your teeth twice a day to remove the plaque that can irritate your gums and cause gingivitis.
If you can brush with an electric toothbrush, like the Oral B Genius, that is always helpful in doing some of the work for you. And making you more effective in removing all of the plaque off of your teeth. Take your time during brushing and make sure that you are brushing for 2 minutes. Remember, don’t rush when you brush.
Floss once a day
I know you may have heard stories in the news about flossing not being effective, but let me assure that is completely false. Flossing is effective, especially when done properly, in preventing gingivitis and cavities. To be sure that you are flossing correctly, make sure you check out this video. Not really a fan of flossing? Check out the Water Flosser by Waterpik or the AirFloss by Sonicare as alternatives to flossing. Both of these products due a great job of doing what flossing does in a shorter amount of time.
See your dentist regularly
During pregnancy is not the time to stay away from the dentist. Going in and having your routine cleanings is important for maintaining the health of your gums. A professional cleaning will remove that tartar build that is another source of bacteria that irritates the gums. Also, a professional cleaning includes polishing your teeth. Which will make your teeth smoother and harder for the plaque to stick to your teeth.
Let your dentist and the staff know when you are making your appointment or when confirming your appointment that you are pregnant. Be sure to get a release letter from your OBGYN to give to your dentist. This letter will state if your doctor allows you have dental xrays taken, what prescriptions are acceptable and what anesthetics to use during treatment if you need any dental treatment.
This letter is important to provide your dentist as some dentist will not even do your cleaning without it. Be sure to let your dentist and hygienist know about any issues that you are having with your teeth or gums. They will be able to recommend other helpful products or provide you with a prescription if necessary.
With implementing these tactics you will be able to control the gingivitis and prevent the development of gum disease. Don’t be discouraged if you’re diligent and maintain good oral hygiene and still develop gingivitis. Unfortunately, being pregnant causes your gums to be extra sensitive. Remember, it won’t last for too much longer.
Best wishes to you during your pregnancy!
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