If you are an expectant mother, you may be overwhelmed with the number of changes your body is about to endure. While most changes are quite noticeable, such as your growing belly or new food cravings, there are some things that you might be less familiar with. For example, did you know that up to 40% of all pregnant women will experience pregnancy gingivitis. This is the term used to describe mild gum disease, and it often develops between the 2nd and 8th month of pregnancy.
What are the risks of pregnancy gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis may display itself as red, puffy or bleeding gums. It is important to note that this is the first stage of gum disease, which is easily reversed with proper treatment. However, the consequences of neglecting pregnancy gingivitis are quite severe. In fact, if left alone, the gum infection can progress enough to affect your unborn baby!
Evidence based research reveals that pregnancy gingivitis is linked to preterm birth. A study in The Journal of the American Dental Association reported that pregnant women that had persistent or chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to give birth prematurely to underweight babies.
Why are pregnant women more at risk for gum disease?
Like many other body changes during pregnancy, the significant shift of hormones are to blame for the increased risk for gum disease. The high levels of hormones often cause inflammation within the gums, which makes them bleed easily and possibly become infected. Increased progesterone found in pregnancy also makes it easier for bacteria and plaque to accumulate, leaving your smile more susceptible to cavities.
What can you do about it?
First and foremost, don’t skip your routine dental appointments if you are pregnant. Regular cleanings and exams are perfectly safe during pregnancy and can be a powerful preventive tool against gum disease during these nine months. In addition, while you may be extra tired or even nauseated on a daily basis, try not to slack off on your oral hygiene at home. For the sake of your baby’s health, make an effort to brush and floss diligently during your pregnancy. If you notice that your gums appear swollen or red, go ahead and schedule a dental visit to address the possibility of pregnancy gingivitis.
Are you a mother-to-be? Schedule your dental appointment at Red Oak Family Dentistry. We welcome pregnant women to our practice, as we promise a pampering experience and top ranked dental services during this special stage of your life.
Posted on Behalf of Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr, #200
McKinney, TX 75071