Pregnancy brings an onslaught of bodily changes–some welcome, some not so welcome like pregnancy gingivitis. Unfortunately, your mouth is not immune to some of the oral health risks pregnancy can bring. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase your risk for developing oral health problems like gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (gum disease). As a result of changes in your hormone levels, 40% of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy–often referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. Learn how you can safeguard your health, and the health of your unborn child through increased awareness and cooperative efforts between you and your dentist.
Many changes happen in your body during pregnancy and your mouth is not immune from the effects of some of these changes. According to the American Dental Association, the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy increase your risk for developing oral health problems like gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (gum disease). Progesterone is the chief culprit to the difficulties you can face with your oral health during pregnancy. The higher levels of this hormone in your body make you more susceptible to gingivitis-causing bacteria and creates gum tissue that is more sensitive to plaque. Pregnancy gingivitis is often diagnosed by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Pregnancy gingivitis should be taken seriously since, if left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis–a more serious form of gum disease that can have lasting, permanent effects.
During pregnancy it is important to take inventory of your mouth every time you brush to assess changes. If you notice any large lumps with red pinpoint markings near your gum line you may have an oral tumor. These oral tumors–often termed pregnancy tumors–may bleed, crust over and cause discomfort when eating or speaking. While unsightly and inconvenient, these pregnancy-related oral tumors are common and not cancerous nor can they spread to others. A pregnancy tumor is an extreme inflammatory reaction to a local irritation (such as food particles or plaque) and occur in up to 10% of pregnant women, usually in the second trimester. Pregnancy tumors are often present if you are also suffering from pregnancy gingivitis. Most tumors don’t require treatment and will go away on their own. If you find a tumor is too uncomfortable, or if it interferes with eating or practicing normal oral hygiene, Dr. Berry may need to remove it.
Recent studies indicate that there is a link between gum disease and premature birth. The Journal of the American Dental Association published a study from researchers who found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were 4 to 7 times more likely to deliver prematurely (before gestational week 37) and have underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums. Mothers manifesting severe periodontal disease delivered the most prematurely, at 32 weeks. The process behind these premature births is explained by bacteria entering the bloodstream through your gums and traveling to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor. Further research is still needed, but what we do know now is that preventive dental care during pregnancy improves oral health and overall health and is safer for both mother and child.
Prevention. Prevention. Prevention. We can’t emphasize this enough. By increasing your oral hygiene efforts you can avoid most oral health problems during pregnancy. Gingivitis and oral tumors do not have to be part of your pregnancy story. You can change the narrative and our Mountain Aire Dentistry team is committed to helping you write the best story possible for your pregnancy journey. Professional dental cleanings are particularly important. Increasing your frequency of professional dental cleanings will reduce gum irritation, help you control plaque accumulation, prevent pregnancy gingivitis and lessen the likelihood of you developing pregnancy tumors. Your home dental care habits are key for preventing pregnancy gingivitis. Work to keep your teeth clean through regular brushing–especially near the gumline. Brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible. Floss thoroughly each day and use an antiplaque or fluoride mouthwash. If your morning sickness is giving you some different ideas on toothpaste and mouthwashes in the morning, at the very least, give your mouth a thorough rinsing by swishing with water.
Pregnancy is an exciting journey and Mountain Aire Dentistry wants to be part of your total body wellness team. Enlist our help early. If you are planning on getting pregnant, the best time to enlist us is before you actually get pregnant so we can give you any necessary treatment that you may need before your hormone changes and morning sickness set in. It also allows us to administer pain medications or anesthetics that you would not want to use during pregnancy. So, if you are planning on getting pregnant soon, or if you think you already are, make an appointment with Dr. Berry at our Broomfield office as soon as you can. After you become pregnant, schedule a checkup in your first trimester to determine whether you need a cleaning and so Dr. Berry can evaluate your current oral condition and predict how your mouth will handle the changes pregnancy will have on it. During this visit you can plan together your oral treatment during pregnancy to ensure you and your mouth get the attention they will need. A visit to the dentist is also needed in the second trimester for a deep cleaning, to assess changes and to gauge the effectiveness of your current oral hygiene routine. Then, depending on your needs, another appointment may be scheduled early in the third trimester. We understand that this will be a busy time for you, but you don’t need to worry–these appointments are brief and not invasive. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy in between visits, call Mountain Aire Dentistry.
If you are pregnant your mouth needs more attention during this chapter of your life to promote total body wellness and oral health. Call Mountain Aire Dentistry today to make an appointment. Dr. Berry can talk to you about your particular needs and what steps to take at home to keep you and your mouth healthy throughout the duration of your pregnancy. Call today for a consultation at . Mountain Aire Dentistry serves the families of the Broomfield, Erie and Centennial communities. We look forward to meeting you and your family.
When you visit our Broomfield dental office, your smile is our top priority. Our Dentists invite you to experience the difference a warm and caring team can provide for you and your family. Enjoy a unique and comfortable dental experience designed to bring a healthier and happier smile back into your life. We invite you to call or visit our Broomfield dental office and discover the exceptional difference we offer to those we serve.