What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

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Many pregnant women notice that their gums are much more problematic than usual. If you are pregnant and experiencing sore or tender gums, or gums which bleed as you brush and floss, it is likely that you have pregnancy gingivitis. This is a very common problem experienced by many women during pregnancy and in the early stages is not serious. However, if left unchecked, pregnancy gingivitis can potentially lead to a number of complications, some of which will affect your unborn child. If you think you may have pregnancy gingivitis, then it is vital to visit your dentist and seek treatment.

Gingivitis is a type of gum disease and the vast majority of people will experience it to some degree in their lives. Gingivitis is caused by a build up of dental plaque which, when left to collect, will irritate and sometimes inflame your gums, causing them to bleed. Gingivitis can often lead to a drop in your overall oral health and it makes brushing and flossing quite painful. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can often lead to periodontal disease. This is much more serious than gingivitis and not only affects the nearby tissues and bone structures of the affected area, but can also cause a range of problems with your overall health.

Although pregnancy gingivitis is a common problem and not usually serious on its own, if allowed to progress to periodontal disease, it can often lead to premature births or babies with low birth-weights. Research suggests that women are especially susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis due to the increased blood flow which occurs during pregnancy. This occurs so that your baby can be constantly provided with the nutrients it needs to develop and grow. The downside of this is that it often leaves you vulnerable to attack by gingivitis as it swells your gums and may even cause them to bleed. Similarly, pregnant women have much higher hormone levels than normal. This rise in hormones often means that your teeth and gums are more susceptible to the bacteria responsible for the formation of plaque.

Some studies indicate that morning sickness can also contribute to the development of pregnancy gingivitis. Some women develop a great distaste for toothpaste during pregnancy, leading to a drop in their overall oral health. This, combined with vomiting can leave your gums vulnerable to attack from the collected acid which can also eat away at your teeths' protective enamel.

Fortunately, pregnancy gingivitis is highly treatable. Although it can not be 'cured', a professional cleaning by a dental professional will help to remove unwanted plaque from your mouth. In more severe cases, a procedure to clean the roots of your teeth known as root planing may also be required. To help prevent pregnancy gingivitis, simply maintain a good oral health regime with plenty of flossing and brushing. Try to cut down on sugary snacks or drinks as these can often contribute to the formation of plaque.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »