When you are going through a pregnancy you may need to change some of your daily oral habits to accommodate changes in your hormones and your body. Particularly, a surge in estrogen and progesterone can exaggerate the way gums react to plaque.
If plaque build up goes untreated, a mother may suffer from gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease. Red, swollen gums from gingivitis may cause the gum’s to bleed. This is commonly known as “pregnancy gingivitis” and usually begins to surface about two months into a pregnancy.
Pregnant women are also subject to something known as “pregnancy tumors” which are are inflammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. These growths typically can go untreated and will subside after the child is born. However, if the tumor is quite large and interferes with chewing, brushing or any other oral health activities, your dentist might choose to remove them in the dentist office.
You can avoid these issues by staying on top of your home care throughout your pregnancy. This means brushing your teeth twice a day and staying on top of your flossing. Be sure to take extra care of your gum line as this is the area most affected during your pregnancy.
Additionally, consult your dentist about a proper fluoride regimen. If brushing induces morning sickness consider rinsing your mouth with an antiplaque or fluoride mouthwash.
It is important to stave off gingivitis as research has linked the gum disease to low birth weight and pre-term birth.
You should consult a dentist as soon as you know you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. Then schedule an appointment with your dentist after your first trimester for a consultation and a cleaning. It is incredibly important to stay on top of your oral health throughout the entirety of your pregnancy.