Pregnancy and Oral Health

May 15th, 2014

pregnancy and dental healthThere are many side effects to pregnancy. We all have heard of morning sickness or the late night cravings that some women can get. However, pregnancies can also bring another change in a woman’s body: a heightened risk of gingivitis.
Some women will notice between the second and eighth month of pregnancy that their gums can become inflamed, redder, and bleed when brushing their teeth. This is often referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis” and typically settles down after the mother gives birth.

There are several reasons why pregnant women may experience an upsurge of gingivitis symptoms. One reason is that pregnant women receive an increased level of the hormone progesterone, a hormone specific to helping gestation. This hormone, however, can enhance the growth of bacteria that can cause gingivitis. Secondly, because the woman’s body is experiencing so many changes, the immune system has to recalibrate and focus on new concerns with the body. Much of that concern is taken away from the gums and the bacteria that can cause gingivitis.
To avoid irritated and inflamed gums from gingivitis, Water Tower Dental recommends a solid routine of proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice a day for two or more minutes, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. We also recommend a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables that can help keep your mouth salivating and washing away any bad bacteria. Make sure to talk to your doctor about proper diet techniques, specific to you, that can help keep your mouth and gums stay healthy.
While the gums are usually of biggest concern during a pregnancy, there are other potential issues that can arise. Some pregnant women often experience an increase in cavities due to more adventurous snacking, especially at nighttime when saliva production is low. Often the snacking can occur after the woman has brushed her teeth, which then leaves potential for bacteria growth as plaque and tartar build through the night.
Another concern for pregnant women is that often acid erosion can make teeth, gums, and lips sore. Vomiting that’s associated with morning sickness and acid reflux causes this. However both of these concerns are much less severe than the amount of pregnant women who can experience gingivitis.
It’s wise to continue to have regular dental check ups during a pregnancy, especially if you’re experiencing inflamed, red gums. Often a detailed cleaning by a professional technician can help reduce the effects of gingivitis and in some cases, completely stop the bacteria in its tracks. If you have any concerns about your gums and oral hygiene during your pregnancy, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental we are happy to help.