Pregnancy is a joyous time for families. Bringing new life into the world and growing your family can be exciting.  With all of the things that must be done during this time, preparing your baby’s nursery, planning your baby shower and eating all of the right things to ensure your baby gets proper nutrients moms often forget about one of the most important parts of self-care – their own dental health.

One of the most common dental concerns that arise during pregnancy is gingivitis.  What is called “pregnancy gingivitis” is even more prevalent in mothers who already experienced oral health issues prior to becoming pregnant.

What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

Hormonal changes, including the rising level of progesterone in the body can increase the risk for developing a host of dental problems, including inflammation of the gums – pregnancy gingivitis. The increased blood flow into the gum tissue give rise to sensitive and swollen gums.  Plaque also builds on the teeth more easily during pregnancy, which can also lead to pregnancy gingivitis.

Pregnancy gingivitis, if left untreated, could lead to the more serious gum disease, periodontitis. This is concerning because the occurrence of periodontitis during pregnancy is connected with preterm births and low birthweight in babies. The other concern with pregnancy gingivitis is that, just like with other forms of gum disease, having it can increase your chance of developing an infection, cavities and tooth loss.

Signs of Pregnancy Gingivitis

Daily you should look for signs of changes in your mouth.  Redness, swelling or bleeding of the gums are indicators of pregnancy gingivitis.  Sometimes this is more apparent while eating and more frequently occurs while brushing and flossing.  While performing your dental self-check, look for bumps on the gums, or pregnancy tumors, as they may also be present.  If you should find them, know that these bumps are noncancerous and often resolve themselves after the pregnancy.

If you are experiencing pregnancy gingivitis, you are not alone.  Over half of pregnant women in the nation experience gingivitis during this time of their lives

To help prevent pregnancy gingivitis take care of your mouth by practicing good oral hygiene.  Make sure that you are:

  • Eating nutritious foods.
  • Brushing your teeth twice a day.
  • Brushing after every meal.
  • Flossing once a day before you brush your teeth.
  • Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash that is alcohol free.
  • Keeping up with your dental cleaning and care appointments. I recommend every 4 months while you are pregnant and for the first 12 months after delivery due to hormone levels changing.
  • Choosing a soft toothbrush for this time in your life.

If you discover that you have pregnancy gingivitis, make an appointment with your dental provider who can treat the problem with antibiotics.  If it is severe enough, the tissue may have to be excised. If you are still experiencing swelling and bleeding once you have given birth, contact your dentist.

The team at the Long Beach dental office of Stephen A. Coates, DDS is experienced in helping moms get through oral health problems and maintaining good oral health during their pregnancies.  Call us to discuss your pregnancy dental health plan today at 562-434-6414. You may request an appointment by visiting this page here.