Most mothers say that being pregnant is one of the happiest times of their lives. However, in addition to the excitement of anticipating and planning for a baby, there are also a few surprising side effects along the way.
“Pregnancy gingivitis,” swelling, redness, bleeding and sensitivity of the gum tissues, is a very common side effect in pregnant women. If not treated, this gingivitis can progress to destructive periodontitis, an inflammation and infection of supporting structures of the teeth. Luckily, with regular checkups and proper oral hygiene, you can prevent this from happening.
Let’s first understand why pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease. During pregnancy, your hormones (in particular progesterone) are elevated.
The tiny blood vessels of gum tissues become dilated in response to your elevated hormone levels and are therefore more susceptible to the effects of plaque bacteria and their corresponding toxins.
Gingivitis is most common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy.
How does Gum Disease affect your baby?
So what does this mean for your baby? Well, some studies have shown that there is a positive link between preterm deliveries, low birth weight and gum disease in pregnant women. There is also a correlation between the severity of gum disease and high blood pressure during pregnancy.
So what can you do? Well, prevention is key. Brush at least twice a day using a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste with fluoride and remember to floss to remove plaque from protected areas between the teeth.
It is also extremely important to visit us at three or four month intervals throughout your pregnancy to maintain your oral health.