Pregnancy gingivitis is very similar to regular gingivitis in that the gum tissues become swollen, red and inflamed due to the presence of bacteria on the teeth and gums. But unlike regular gingivitis, pregnancy gingivitis is made worse by the change in hormones during pregnancy and can cause a greater response to oral bacteria. Pregnancy gingivitis can range from mild to severe symptoms, and it is estimated that 60-70% of the population experiences at least mild symptoms associated with it at some point during pregnancy.
There is an increase in the progesterone hormone during pregnancy, leading to a more significant response from gum tissue to bacteria. This can occur at any point during pregnancy and even while nursing. The inflammatory response to the plaque is more critical while there is a change in hormones. Typically, pregnancy gingivitis will become evident in the second trimester, around week 15, and occurs around the same time the mucous membranes around the sinus’ become inflamed and clog up.
The most common symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis are red, swollen, inflamed gum tissues. Also, gums will often bleed while brushing and flossing and will bleed more during routine dental cleaning. The gums may also be sore or tender. In rare cases, pregnancy gum tumours may occur, which are overgrown patches of gum tissue that appear bulbous, usually between teeth. The good news is that after birth and nursing, pregnancy gingivitis signs and symptoms typically subside on their own.
Because pregnancy gingivitis is so common, it is essential to take measures to prevent or reduce it. Certain behaviours such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, using a CDA approved mouthwash daily and using a gingivitis fighting toothpaste are ways to help with pregnancy gingivitis. Another vital aspect is making sure to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings during the pregnancy. Often, more frequent cleanings help to manage and prevent symptoms.
Suppose you are planning on getting pregnant or are already pregnant and have questions about pregnancy gingivitis and ways to prevent it. In that case, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.