Gingivitis During Pregnancy

By Hanna Hanania, DDS, PS

Pregnant women should focus on good oral hygiene. This will reduce the stress on their unborn child by lessening the chances of dental procedures, not to include their regular cleaning/checkup. During pregnancy, hormone levels in your body continue to grow higher. These increased levels of hormones encourage your body to increase its blood supply to your gingival tissue. This increased blood flow may result in the gum disease known as gingivitis, which is when the gums are swollen and continue to bleed easily. This disease can cause acute discomfort. However, brushing and flossing your teeth may limit the discomfort and bleeding.
Some women may find that there is a rapid overgrowth of gum tissue while expecting their child. This is referred to as pregnancy tumors. Though not a true cancer, it must be treated. To recover from this, you should see your dentist each trimester for prenatal dental exam and dental cleaning with a topical fluoride treatment. Good home care is also essential during this time. Pregnancy tumors usually subside after childbirth.

Approximately one-half of infant mortality is due to low birth weight. Premature births appear to be greater in women with severe gum disease. Excessive bacteria, which cause gingivitis, can enter the bloodstream through your mouth. Mothers with periodontal disease also have eight times the chance of having pre-term low birth weight babies because the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called “prostaglandins”, which are suspected to induce premature labor.