Gingivitis, a common condition during pregnancy , is a form of periodontal disease that involves inflammation and bleeding of the gums, due to the infection that destroys the supporting tissues of the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone).
Gingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits, and more than 50% of all pregnant women experience some form of pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis usually does not carry any risk, unless it is not treated in time.
But in pregnancy, you have to take great care in preventing and treating this infection, because in the event of complications, periodontal problems could lead to premature delivery.
Why Pregnancy Gingivitis Occurs
There are several reasons that make gingivitis so prevalent during pregnancy:
- The increased blood flow that occurs during pregnancy is the cause of the gums becoming inflamed and painful, and even bleeding, increasing the risk of developing gingivitis.
- Increased hormone levels at this stage also play an important role in the risk of developing gingivitis during pregnancy: the gums and teeth become more sensitive to the bacteria that hide in plaque.
- A less relevant factor (and that is not involved in all cases) would be nausea during pregnancy, which could cause some women to dislike toothpaste or deep hygiene of the mouth, since it would cause vomiting.
- In the event that nausea is accompanied by vomiting, increased vomiting during pregnancy can also damage the gums. This is because stomach acid from vomiting could eat away at gum tissue and tooth enamel, making the mouth much more sensitive.
- Nasal congestion, which during pregnancy can cause excess hormones that inflame the nasal mucosa, could lead to frequent breathing through the mouth. Regular oral breathing increases the risk of gingivitis and cavities.
- The gums are more tender or swollen, red or purplish-red, or very shiny.
- Bleeding after brushing or flossing is also common.
- Mouth sores and an unpleasant taste that doesn’t go away could also be symptoms.
How to keep gingivitis at bay
To prevent gingivitis we must have an adequate cleaning to stop the accumulation of plaque and tartar. How to do it:
- Maintain proper oral hygiene . Use a fluoride toothpaste and brush your teeth daily, after every meal, and especially before going to bed at night. Complement cleaning with dental floss and mouth rinses.
Brushing should be gentle but long and thorough, without neglecting any area (tongue included). In this way, we eliminate the bacteria that affect teeth and gums, keep the mouth clean and prevent gingivitis, cavities, halitosis …
- Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups during pregnancy. This way you can assess the state of the gums or perform an oral cleaning and prevent major ailments.
- You should avoid foods that contain refined sugar in large quantities, and in any case brush your teeth immediately after consuming them.
- Taking the right amount of calcium (keeps bones strong) and vitamin C (strengthens the gums, reducing the chances of bleeding) also contributes to good oral health.
If gingivitis is not cured, it can progress to periodontitis , a more dangerous infection. Studies show that this severe form of gum disease increases the risk of a pregnant woman having a premature delivery or a low-birth-weight baby.
Therefore, if you notice that your gums are inflamed, painful and bleeding, or do not heal by following these tips above, consult your dentist to determine if it is gingivitis or another condition and advise you on how to treat it. It is better not to wait until it is evident that there is an oral problem, at the slightest suspicion, go to the dentist.
In Babies and more | 85% of pregnant women suffer from oral problems, gingivitis being the most common condition: how to prevent and treat it