Protecting Mother and Baby: Understanding Gum Disease During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey of nurturing a baby in your womb. But it always comes with a price! You may be up for a roller coaster ride due to several issues like morning sickness, bloating, mood swings, and food cravings. One of the most neglected issues would however be poor oral health in some pregnant women. About half of the mothers-to-be are likely to suffer from gum or periodontal disease during pregnancy.

If you experience any symptoms of gum disease while pregnant, consult the dentist in Fairfield, ME for further evaluation and management. But first, let’s know what gum disease is and why it is prevalent during pregnancy. 

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a progressive destruction of the soft tissues supporting the teeth, namely the gums or gingiva. It usually begins as the inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), but may gradually progress to a more severe form involving the underlying jawbone (periodontitis). 

Is gum disease more likely during pregnancy?

Yes. Gum disease is a more prevalent dental problem during pregnancy and after tooth decay. You may experience swollen, red, inflamed, or bleeding gums, especially during your first and second trimester. Pregnancy itself does not cause poor oral health, but changes in lifestyle and eating habits due to cravings may predispose you to develop pregnancy gingivitis. 

What causes gum disease during pregnancy?

Common causes of gum disease during pregnancy include:

    • Hormonal changes 
      • Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can result in gum inflammation and bleeding. 
      • Pyogenic granuloma or pregnancy tumor is a common gingival growth that can easily bleed. 
  • Increased morning sickness
      • Vomiting during pregnancy can cover your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated acid reflux can erode your tooth enamel and gums. 
  • Poor diet
    • Increased sugar cravings can increase plaque accumulation and bacterial infiltration resulting in excess acid formation. 
    • This may increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. 

What are the symptoms of gum disease during pregnancy?

Some of the common symptoms of gum disease during pregnancy include:

  • Gum inflammation 
  • Swollen gums 
  • Red and sore gums
  • Increased gum bleeding while brushing 
  • Bad breath 
  • Gum recession (receding gums exposing the tooth roots)
  • Diastema (gaps between teeth)
  • Pregnancy tumor 

How to prevent gum disease during pregnancy?

Here are a few tips to follow that can prevent gum disease during pregnancy:

  • Eat the right type of food to keep your teeth healthy 
  • Limit your sugar intake 
  • Brush twice daily 
  • Floss at least once a day 
  • Visit your dentist for cleanings 
  • Take your vitamin supplements regularly 
  • If required get dental treatments during your second trimester

Gum changes during pregnancy can be common! Do not worry. Seek dental care at the right time before gum disease worsens, to safeguard the health of your baby. They may offer cleanings and counseling to improve your oral health. 

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