Pregnancy and Gums Disease
First of all congratulations! Now it’s important to keep you healthy for the next few months. Some women get swollen and sore gums, which may bleed during their pregnancy. These bleeding gums are caused by a build-up of plaque (bacteria) on the teeth and hormones regulate the body’s response to this.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more sensitive, leading to greater inflammation and bleeding in response to small amounts of plaque. This is also called pregnancy gingivitis or pregnancy gum disease. If left untreated this can progress into long-term gum disease or Periodontal Disease – a more serious form of gum disease in which the infection goes beyond your gums into the bone and other tissue that supports your teeth. This is the most common reason for the loss of healthy teeth.
“This is called pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease”
Keeping Teeth and Gums Healthy
It’s important to keep your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible. The best way to prevent or deal with any gum problems is to practice good oral hygiene. Attend the dentist or hygienist regularly during your pregnancy so they can give your teeth a thorough clean and give you some advice about keeping your teeth clean at home.
Here’s how you can help look after your teeth and gums:
- clean your teeth carefully twice a day for two minutes – use a soft toothbrush and ask your dentist /hygienist to show you how to improve your technique. It’s a skill don’t forget!
- Flossing is just as important as brushing – No matter how hard you try, I promis you won’t brush between your teeth.
- Avoid having sugary drinks (such as fizzy drinks or sweet tea) and sugary foods too often – try to keep them only to meal times
- If you’re hungry between meals, snack on vegetables and avoid sugary or acidic foods.
- No smoking! It can make gum disease worse, aside from other serious health issues.
If you have morning sickness, simply rinse your mouth afterwards with water or a non-alcohol based mouthwash. This will help prevent the acid in your mouth attacking your teeth. Don’t brush your teeth straight away as they will be softened by the acid from the stomach. Wait about one hour before doing so.
Dental Work During Pregnancy
We normally try and avoid anything other than basic dental work during the pregnancy. However if any work is necessary then it can be planned for to ensure you and your babies safety
If you need a dental X-ray, we will usually wait until you’ve had the baby, even though most dental X-rays don’t affect the abdomen or pelvic area. Make sure the dentist knows that you’re pregnant!
Possibly, but the evidence is inconsistent. Many studies show a link between severe gum disease and preterm birth and low birth weight. And there is some research suggesting an association with preeclampsia too. However, other studies show no relationship between gum disease and these serious complications.
Pregnancy and the Dentist
In addition to your regular checkups, schedule an appointment if you have any of the following:
- A toothache
- Gums that bleed frequently and cause you pain
- Other signs of gum disease, like swollen, tender gums; receding gums; persistent bad breath; or loosening teeth,swellings in your mouth, even if they’re not painful or causing any other symptoms.