When plaque collects between your teeth and gums, it can cause Gingivitis, which is an inflammation and irritation of the gums. This condition breeds bacteria and can precede loss of bone, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Unfortunately, Gingivitis is quite common in pregnancy. More than half of pregnant women experience “pregnancy gingivitis”. Increased hormone levels can exaggerate the effects of dental plaque in the woman’s mouth. This causes swelling and tender red gums.
Incidence of pregnancy gingivitis is most noticeable in the second month of gestation, and will continue throughout the pregnancy. The best thing the mom-to-be can do is continue to brush regularly (brushing and flossing after each meal and avoiding unhealthy snacks i.e. high sugar and acidic food and beverages) can minimize the harmful effects of pregnancy gingivitis.
Women planning a pregnancy and those who are pregnant should visit their dentist so as to address their oral health needs and reduce the potential of unwanted and unexpected problems that may otherwise complicate the pregnancy.
Some other helpful hints on how to avoid gum disease are:
• Brush thoroughly at least twice a day
• Take your time; you should spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth
• Be sure to use anti-plaque toothpaste to help protect your teeth from decay and gingivitis
• Rinse thoroughly after brushing to get rid of loosened bacteria in hard-to-reach places
• Remember to floss daily to help avoid the buildup of bacteria
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet (avoiding sugary snacks)
• Continue to visit your dentist regularly (once it is safe for the baby)
Pregnant women really need to step up their oral health. And it makes great practice for after the baby is born.