Oral health is an important part of everyday health, but it’s even more important for pregnant women. With recent studies suggesting that periodontitis (inflammation of the gums) is a possible contributing factor in the increased risk of premature birth, oral hygiene for pregnant women is vital.1 Gingivitis commonly occurs before more severe periodontal gum disease sets in. That is why it’s essential to seek treatment for gingivitis as soon as symptoms appear.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. Plaque that contains bacteria builds up on the teeth, leading to swollen and red gums. Over time, gums may start to bleed during brushing and become sore.
Plaque builds up on your teeth when they aren’t cleaned thoroughly. After a few days, the plaque hardens to form tartar. The gradual build-up of tartar makes it tricky to get rid of the bacteria around the gum line, and this leads to gingivitis.
If you spot any of these signs of gingivitis, it’s time to call your periodontist:
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
The good news is that gingivitis is treatable, and if caught early, it’s easy to reverse the effects.
Why Are Pregnant Women More Prone To Gingivitis?
During pregnancy, hormone levels rise sharply, including an increase in progesterone that causes gum sensitivity. This rise in progesterone leaves gums more vulnerable to plaque build-up.
It’s a common condition for pregnant women, with studies showing that 60% to 75% of pregnant women suffer from gingivitis, usually between the third and eighth months of pregnancy.2
Moreover, because bacteria can enter the bloodstream from inflamed gums, gingivitis can lead to pregnancy complications, including:3
- Premature delivery
- Low birth weight
However, it’s important not to panic or stress over symptoms of gingivitis. Regular visits to your dentist or periodontist throughout pregnancy will identify and treat symptoms and early signs of gingivitis before it can progress.
What’s The Best Home Treatment For Gingivitis
Taking good care of your oral health before and during pregnancy will help you and your baby stay healthy.
Brush your teeth and gums twice daily for at least 2 minutes. Use a soft-bristle brush and move in small round strokes, paying careful attention to the gum line to remove all the plaque. Speak to your dentist or periodontist about anti-gingivitis toothpaste, and remember to replace your toothbrush every three months.
Floss Twice Daily
Flossing helps get rid of the food and bacteria caught between your teeth. In addition, regular flossing helps prevent plaque build-up and can reverse gingivitis. We recommend flossing twice a day to help prevent gum disease.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Morning sickness can make eating a healthy diet during pregnancy a little more challenging. For example, pregnant women may have cravings for specific foods or discover an aversion to foods they once enjoyed. This is temporary but may wreak havoc on oral health.
To prevent plaque build-up, avoid sugary and starchy foods. Instead, fill your diet with healthy foods like fruit, veggies, and whole-grain products. Lastly, limit sweet treats to once a day to prevent gingivitis.
What To Do If At-Home Treatment For Gingivitis Doesn’t Work
Visit The Dentist or Periodontist
Throughout pregnancy, it’s essential to keep your regular dental or periodontal appointments. If your dentist tells you that you have gingivitis, a visit to a periodontist is in order. Nothing gets rid of plaque and tartar better than professional cleaning. Tell your provider about your pregnancy, and they’ll schedule extra check-ups for you, if necessary.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into periodontal disease and possible tooth loss. If this happens, your dentist or periodontist may place you on a course of antibiotics to clear the infection. Your doctor will know which antibiotics are safe during pregnancy.
Looking For Dental Treatment For Gingivitis In Rochester?
Pregnancy is an exciting time full of joy and hope. Regular trips to your dentist or periodontist will help maintain your oral health. The team at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester is here to support you throughout your pregnancy. Call our office at 585.685.2005 to schedule an appointment or contact us online.