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Why pregnant women may be more at risk of gingivitis

Why pregnant women may be more at risk of gingivitis

Many truly amazing things happen to a women’s body during pregnancy. The unborn child is a genetic mix of DNA from the father and mother, yet it is not rejected like a transplant heart or kidney would be without immunosuppressant drugs. This is because part of the process of pregnancy is to suppress the mother’s immune system. As a result the immune system responds to plaque (bacteria) irritation, which presents as gum infection, where gums may become red, puffy and bleed easily.

This used to be called pregnancy gingivitis, but is no longer a separate recognised condition. Basically it is just gingivitis occurring during pregnancy and can be treated and reversed by enthusiastic, but gentle and thorough removal of plaque around the teeth and gums by brushing, tooth picking and flossing and also with the use of water jets and some foods can help, i.e. cranberries, spinach and kale.

During pregnancy the body undergoes many changes. The hormonal changes combined with plaque and tartar may cause a gum disease. The changes in the diet and the saliva may aid the bacteria in overcoming the body’s immune system and the response may be disproportioned to the infection. Therefore it is recommended to maintain good oral hygiene and visit the dentist before and during pregnancy to examine the condition of your teeth and gums and to maintain optimal health.

The hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the gums to show more of an inflammatory process when plaque or tartar is present. Any nausea can also cause the acidity from reflux to affect the gums. It is important to notice that gum disease during pregnancy can affect the prognosis of the pregnancy since bacteria or toxins secreted may travel into the blood stream and reach the developing baby.

A careful and gentle approach to gum health by a dental hygienist can help. For any concerns and for dental treatment during pregnancy, please call us to make an appointment.

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