Congratulations, you’re expecting! You’re already well aware that you’ll likely experience symptoms such as nausea, food aversion and general discomfort during your pregnancy. But did you know that you might also be susceptible to a particular type of gum inflammation called pregnancy gingivitis that might make your gums bleed?
Although pregnancy gingivitis is a lesser-known effect of pregnancy, it affects upwards of 70% of all pregnant women. Much of the population already has some form of gingivitis, and the risk of pregnancy-related gingivitis might be even greater in those who already have it.
What is pregnancy gingivitis?
We know that gingivitis is a form of gum disease where the gum tissue becomes inflamed. This is caused by bacteria in the mouth called plaque. But other potential factors may also cause gingivitis. During pregnancy, there is a shift in hormones – particularly estrogen and progesterone. The changes to these hormones are to blame for the increased inflammation of gum tissue. Your body’s response to oral bacteria will be heightened. That’s why it’s essential to maintain optimal oral health during pregnancy. Pregnancy gingivitis may appear at any time during pregnancy and even nursing but is most common during the second and third trimesters.
What are the signs and symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis displays the typical signs and symptoms of regular gingivitis. You may experience red, puffy, swollen gums. Your gums may bleed easier, such as when flossing or brushing teeth. You may also experience a “pregnancy tumour,” which is a scary-sounding term for a very swollen spot of gum tissue, usually localized between two teeth.
How do you treat and prevent pregnancy gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis is common and will go away on its own in most cases. To prevent it (or reduce the symptoms), be sure to be diligent with your oral health. That means brushing twice a day and flossing once or twice a day.
An electric toothbrush is convenient during pregnancy, especially if you are experiencing a heightened gag reflex which is common in pregnancy. Ensure a nutritious, well-balanced diet containing all essential vitamins and minerals.
You can also add an anti-bacterial mouth wash to your daily routine. Lastly, it is vital to maintain regular dental visits during your pregnancy. Your dentist may even recommend seeing you more frequently for dental cleanings to maintain good gum health.
Please contact us if you have any questions about pregnancy gingivitis.