Gingivitis in pregnancy: Causes & Risks To Women

Gingivitis in pregnancy

Gum inflammation and bleeding during pregnancy is very common. Gingivitis in pregnancy is a medical condition that involves the inflammation of the gums. It is a mild form of gum diseases, both adults and children can have it. Without proper treatments, It can progress from slight gum inflammation to serious dental issues, including gums recession, bleeding and loss of teeth.

Although, anyone can have gingivitis, but for some reasons pregnant women are more likely to have it. During pregnancy your gums tissues becomes more sensitive and can easily be irritated and made to swell. Hormonal changes during pregnancy leads to increase in blood flow to your gum tissue, making your gums to be tender and highly sensitive. These is considered to be the key cause of gingivitis in pregnancy.

Gingivitis in pregnancy & risks

Gum disease including gingivitis during pregnancy should never be ignored. Research has proven that pregnant women may start to notice frequent gingivitis between the second to the eight months of their pregnancy. If gingivitis goes untreated, it can progress gradually into more serious issues that can affect both the mother and child in a negative way.

When pregnant, your body undergoes various hormonal changes in order to support the development of your unborn baby. This includes a rapid increase in the level pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen. The increase in the level of pregnancy hormones are associated with an increased risk of dental conditions such as gums bleeding, recession, gingivitis and periodontitis. The main reason behind this, is that these hormones affects some of your body’s immune cells negatively in the favor of your baby.

They deactivated the immune cells that are not good for your baby development, making you more susceptible to oral infections and Inflammation. This is one of the main reason why approximately 4 out of 10 pregnant women will develop gingivitis at some points throughout their pregnancy. (1) Without early detection and adequate treatment, some of their teeth will become wobbly or even fall out before they give birth.

However, hormonal changes is not the only cause of gingivitis in pregnancy. Nutritional deficiency, smoking, sugary foods, certain medications and health problems can all lead to gingivitis. This can make any pregnant woman to worry. But with regular dental care and examinations during pregnancy, you detect and treat gum issues earlier before they progress into more serious issues.

After so many tests and research, it’s shown that untreated gum disease during pregnancy can affect your unborn baby. A study reported that pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia. Severe case of gingivitis during pregnancy can affect your child’s future. After giving birth, your child will be more likely to suffer from certain health problems or have learning difficulties.

Regular dental examinations and professional cleanings can be helpful in preventing pregnancy gingivitis. You shouldn’t hesitate to contact your dentist if you start to experience frequent swelling, irritation and gums bleeding. Now, let’s look at those things that you can do to prevent gingivitis and avoid putting your baby at risk.

Ways to prevent gingivitis

1. Eat healthy foods: because of your poor body defense mechanism (immune system), you should try and eat foods that can help out. Eating lots of sugary or starchy foods like candy, cookies and dried fruits can increase the number of harmful bacteria that can attack your teeth and gums. You should try to eat rich balanced diets, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products are good for your oral health.

2. Regular brushing and flossing: keeping your mouth clean every day can reduce your chances of having oral problems. Remember, during pregnancy your gums will be more sensitive. Use only soft-bristled toothbrush and apply gentle brushing techniques to avoid causing damages to your gums. Daily use of mouthwash can help to clear out plaque and also reduce the number of harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis. Pick the right toothpaste and mouthwash, if you are not so sure on the ones to pick, your dentist can recommend for you.

3. Take vitamins regularly: vitamins are great for maintaining healthy body tissues. Vitamin C and A can help you to combat gingivitis, by keeping your bones, gums and teeth healthy. You should try to take enough fruits that are rich in vitamin C and A every day. Alternatively, you can consider taking vitamins supplements.

4. Oral Antibiotics: there are lots of safe antibiotics that your doctor can prescribe for you, if you are experiencing severe gums infection and gingivitis. Gingivitis caused by bacteria infection can be difficult to treat, taking enough vitamins and brushing daily might not help you in this situation. You should talk to your doctor first before you start taking antibiotics, not all antibiotics are safe for you and your baby. If you choose to go for oral antibiotics, your doctor can help you to make the right pick.

Bottom line

Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women can be prone to gum disease and oral infections. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, it causes redness, swelling and Inflammation of the gums. As the inflammation progresses, the inflamed gums will start pulling away from the teeth, leaving small spaces for bacterial infections to inhabit. Daily flossing and brushing at least once every day, helps to clear away any trapped food particles and bacteria.

Gingivitis in pregnancy commonly develops between months 2 and 8 of pregnancy. You may start to notice frequent occurrence of gingivitis in the third trimester. The best way to prevent gum disease during pregnancy is through regular oral examinations and cleaning.

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