More than half of women (60%+) experience gingivitis during pregnancy, also known as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that can lead to bone loss around the teeth, tooth decay and eventually tooth loss. It can also increase the chance of preterm birth. Dental issues have also been linked to gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia.
Caused by hormonal changes that usually spike in the second trimester, there is an increase of blood flow to the gum tissue and also hinders the body’s normal response to bacteria. So, for pregnant women, plaque builds up much easier and can easily lead to gingivitis. In the earlier stages, signs of gingivitis can include swollen, irritated and bleeding gums.
With improved oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings, you can limit your risk of developing oral issues. The best place to start is by visiting your dentist during your second trimester. In fact, The American Dental Association recommends that all expectant mothers receive dental care and maintain good oral hygiene throughout their pregnancy. He or she may recommend more frequent dental cleanings to help combat the effects of increased progesterone. And to control the amount of plaque in your mouth, there are additional steps you can take on your own:
- Stay up to date on professional dental cleanings and exams
- Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day (especially after morning sickness)
- Floss once a day
- Rinse your mouth often to wash away bacteria
- Eat a balanced diet, limit sugary snacks and practice good nutrition
If swelling and irritation worsen during pregnancy or continue after delivery, we recommend following up with your dental professional.
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