What is pregnancy gingivitis?
“Pregnancy gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that comes from a surge in hormones. It can be many different hormones but progesterone is the number one cause of it. It [progesterone] causes red, swollen, irritated gums. That’s called pregnancy gingivitis. It can turn into something even more serious called periodontal disease. That’s not just from pregnancy. Periodontal disease is a more serious condition where bacteria actually creep below the gum line and causes an infection in the bone. It can end up causing you to lose your teeth down the road if you were not to treat it along with other health issues. Pregnancy gingivitis can be the precursor to periodontal issues so you want to make sure it doesn’t cross into that dangerous stage.
Periodontal disease can complicate the immune system and it can hurt your overall health. That’s true for men and women — but with women, it can cause preterm birth and low birth weight babies. Preterm birth can cause all types of issues for kids. They can have learning disabilities down the road, hearing and vision loss, and/or chronic health problems like asthma infections. You really want to do everything you can to make sure that the baby goes full-term.
How can I prevent pregnancy gingivitis?
Believe it or not, 40% of pregnant women have some form of periodontal disease. Come in and see your hygienist and your dentist and let them do an overall exam check of your periodontal health. They’ll make sure you’re healthy and that way, if you do have any issues going on, they can either give you some home care instructions or possibly treat any periodontal issues you might have. For gingivitis, that just means a really food cleaning and follow-up home care. Sometimes you’ll need some medicines and mouthwashes — things like that could help you get through it.
And then, if you have periodontal disease, there is treatment. We do periodontal therapy where we clean below the gemlike to clean some things out. You’d want to make sure that you schedule regular visits. Here at Stanley Dentistry, we like to see our pregnant patients at least every three to four months to make sure that, if there are any bacterial infections going on, you can get those taken care of before they become an issue.
I make sure I floss every day once, if not twice. Before, I was just a once-a-day flosser. I brush two to three times a day and I do get my cleanings more often while I’m pregnant.”