What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

Oct 04, 2021

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, also referred to as gum disease. It is a broad-spectrum condition that can be caused by various factors or some combination of those factors. Causes of gingivitis are plaque bacteria build up on the teeth, lack of proper oral hygiene at home, irregular dental visits, some medications, some medical conditions and changes to the hormone levels (as in pregnancy.) Gingivitis may range from mild to severe. If left untreated, it may result in more severe conditions developing, such as periodontitis, an infection of the supporting tissues of the teeth. 

Cause of Pregnancy Gingivitis 

Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by a change of hormones in the body. This is due to the increased progesterone level, resulting in a heightened/exaggerated response to plaque and oral bacteria. Pregnancy gingivitis is prevalent, affecting at least 40% of women in some way or another during pregnancy. Pregnancy gingivitis is typically around the 2nd to 8th month of pregnancy. 

Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy Gingivitis 

  • Red, puffy, swollen gums 
  • Sensitive/ tender gums while brushing and flossing 
  • Gums that bleed easily 
  • Pregnancy tumours (large, bulbous pieces of gum tissue localized between teeth, which is fairly uncommon in pregnancy gingivitis but can happen) 

How to Prevent Pregnancy Gingivitis 

Sometimes there is no way to prevent the appearance of pregnancy gingivitis, but there are several ways to help reduce the symptoms.

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day 
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash at least once a day 
  • See your dentist/dental hygienist regularly for dental cleanings and check-ups (you may even be recommended to come in more frequently during pregnancy, such as every 3-4 months, to help combat the effects of pregnancy gingivitis)

Link Between Gum Disease and Premature Birth/ Low Birth Weight  

Newer studies have been completed, and several studies have shown a link between gum disease and premature birth. Studies show that women with gum disease were 4-7 times more likely to deliver their baby prematurely and at a low weight. These studies have been published through The Journal of the American Dental Association.   

If you have any questions about pregnancy gingivitis or are due for your cleaning, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.