If your gums are swollen or inflamed, it could be due to plaque and bacteria buildup in your mouth, otherwise known as gingivitis.
If left untreated, it could lead to more serious gum diseases such as periodontitis and can even cause tooth loss.
It is relatively easy to treat gingivitis when you’re not pregnant.
However, gingivitis during pregnancy?
That is a whole different story.
Gingivitis during pregnancy
Gingivitis during pregnancy or not are caused by the same thing- this is the plaque buildup in your teeth, which results to swollen, sensitive and/or bright red gums. When you’re pregnant, hormonal changes are responsible for the body’s defense mechanism and have to alter to fight the bacteria and plaque buildup in your mouth. This increases the risk of having gingivitis to 60 to 70% chance because of the high progesterone and estrogen levels.
Some studies show a correlation between experiencing severe gum problems during pregnancy with low birth weight and preterm birth. Although the studies are inconsistent, it’s not worth the risk to take because it could put your life and your baby’s life in danger.
Treatment options for gingivitis
When experiencing gingivitis, it is very important to treat it right away so that severe gum problems are avoided. If you experience periodontitis in advance stage, it poses a risk to the pregnancy because treatment for advanced dental issues requires dental procedures that can be complicated during pregnancy. Here are some tips you can follow which are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for those who experience gingivitis during pregnancy.
Good oral hygiene: Always brush your teeth regularly and properly too. Good oral hygiene decreases risk of gingivitis about 70% so brushing your teeth after every meal is important. The method of brushing your teeth is also important.
Brush sideways in a 45 degree angle in circular motions. Don’t forget to floss too. Flossing reaches the areas where your toothbrush can’t, like between the teeth. A regular visit to your dentist for good dental hygiene is very important to avoid tartar formation. Make sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant so they can take the necessary precautions.
Staying informed: Your dentist can teach you on what to avoid and not to avoid during pregnancy so that you won’t experience gingivitis. Remember that prevention is always better than cure.
Know about bacterial transmission: If any members of your family has dental problems, avoid sharing utensils with them. As nice as sharing is, it’s important to be wary of hygiene and what kinds of bacteria could be passed by sharing utensils or other household items.
Don’t take tooth decay for granted: If you experience tooth decay during your pregnancy, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. It is very important to let your dentist know that you are experiencing tooth decay to avoid complications during pregnancy.
There are some procedures that are generally safe to do when you are pregnant but it is best to do the procedure before or after your pregnancy, after the lactation period.
Watch what you eat: Do not eat junk food while you’re pregnant. Avoid sweets and starchy foods too. Aside from being at risk for gestational diabetes, starchy foods are high risk for the thriving bacteria in your mouth.
It’s tedious to remember all these, but just remember to ask yourself when you’re about to do anything: “Is this good for my baby? Is this good for me?” Take the necessary precautions to live a healthy life for you and your baby.