Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect a woman’s body in many different ways; one such change occurs inside a woman’s mouth.
It is estimated that forty to fifty percent of all pregnant women will develop what is referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis,” a mild form of gum disease that is caused by increased production levels of the hormone progesterone. These hormonal changes make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow in your mouth and it makes your gums more sensitive to the build-up of plaque.
Taking care of your gums during pregnancy is very important. There have been multiple studies that have linked gum disease and premature birth. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Dental Association concluded that women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely or have low birth weight babies than mothers with healthy gums.
Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis can range from a slight reddening of the gums and mild inflammation to severe swelling and bleeding gums, especially after brushing or flossing. Pregnancy gingivitis can occur anytime between the second and eight month of pregnancy.
The best way to avoid pregnancy gingivitis is to maintain proper oral hygiene. It is recommended that women brush twice a day or after every meal with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste containing fluoride. Flossing as well as using an alcohol-free, antimicrobial mouthwash daily is also suggested. In addition, don’t skip your dental visits just because you are pregnant. In fact, it is more important to see your dentist when you are pregnant. They can provide a professional cleaning and check-up. Your dentist can also prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
By following these preventative measures, you can reduce your chances of developing pregnancy gingivitis as well as well increasing the probability of delivering a full-term baby.
If you are pregnant and would like to schedule a routine visit at Flushing Hospital’s Dental Center, please call 718-670-5521.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.