Teeth, Gums and Pregnancy

Teeth, Gums and Pregnancy

Special considerations

A woman’s body undergoes many transformations during pregnancy. The mouth is no exception! Several of these changes have direct consequences on the gums and teeth during pregnancy: hormonal variations, nausea and vomiting, nutrition and oral hygiene.

Special attention must be paid to pregnant women when it comes to dental cleaning, X-rays, prescription drugs, local anesthetics and dental treatments.

Gum changes during pregnancy

Hormonal variations during pregnancy cause changes in every part of the body. Progesterone and estrogen levels increase. These changes affect particularly the gums by a reduction of the immune response, a thinner layer of keratin on the gums and some inflammation of the oral tissues. Pregnant women are therefore more at risk of developing gingivitis, despite maintaining exemplary oral hygiene.

What is pregnancy gingivitis?

Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It occurs as a result of hormonal changes and is exacerbated when the bacteria from dental plaque are not properly controlled by good dental hygiene. These bacteria produce acid which becomes very irritating to the tissues of the mouth already affected by hormonal changes.

The most common signs of pregnancy gingivitis include red, swollen and bleeding gums, sometimes oozing pus when pressed and accompanied by bad breath (halitosis). Gums tend to bleed during tooth brushing or flossing. Pregnancy gingivitis is common and remains a benign illness although it should be taken seriously because it can worsen.

Prevention and treatment of pregnancy gingivitis

Hormonal changes are normal during pregnancy and cannot be controlled. Good dental hygiene and regular check-ups at the dentist are recommended during pregnancy to avoid gingivitis. It is suggested to undergo dental scaling and prophylaxis on a regular basis or with greater frequency during pregnancy, especially in the presence of gingivitis. Your dentist is the only professional able to diagnose this condition and prescribe a frequency of cleaning that is suited to your situation.