Pregnancy hormones can be a real beast to deal with for three trimesters. The bodily changes that happen as a result of hormones changing throughout pregnancy are different for each woman. While some may experience mood swings and pop-up crying fits, others deal with breakouts and insomnia. As if these symptoms weren't enough to keep you on your toes, there is another hormone-related condition that pregnant woman may not be aware of, but should have on their radar: pregnancy gingivitis. Never heard of it? Well, that's not a total shock. But learning the facts about pregnancy gingivitis can help prevent some unwanted outcomes and motivate you to grab that floss each day.
To better understand this topic, I reached out to Timothy Chase, cosmetic dentist and practicing partner at SmilesNY, for some tips to help woman avoid, prevent, and treat pregnancy gingivitis. According to Chase, pregnancy gingivitis is extremely common with expecting mothers and occurs with the increase of hormones circulating during pregnancy. And these extra hormones can cause a snowball effect — more hormones leads to more plaque, which causes greater inflammation. If these symptoms go untreated, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to gum recession, bone loss, permanent tooth sensitivity, as well as low birth weight and premature birth.
If you are pregnant, or plan to be, consider these facts about pregnancy gingivitis and make oral care a priority for the next 40 weeks.
1. Pregnancy Gingivitis Peeks During The Second Trimester
According to the American Pregnancy Association, you are most likely to see pregnancy gingivitis in the second trimester of pregnancy. This doesn't mean you will not see any signs during the first or third trimester, but the second trimester is when symptoms tend to be most severe.
2. Brushing & Flossing Is Key
Even a religious twice daily teeth cleaning routine isn't going to cut it. To keep the build-up at bay, Chase recommends brushing and flossing after every meal you eat. This means you may want to keep a toothbrush and pack of floss in your purse for those times you are away from home after eating.
3. Extra Dental Exams Help
Just like you schedule your OB appointments regularly throughout your pregnancy, you should get some visits to the dentist on the books. For thorough and consistent care, Chase suggests having dental exams every four months, versus every six.
4. Gum Sensitivity Is A Sign
If your gums are change in any way while you're pregnant, consider it a red flag. "The first signs of pregnancy gingivitis are gums that bleed when brushing or flossing," Chase says. "I also tell patients to be wary of teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold, but sometimes it may just be that gums feel irritated.”
5. Pregnancy Gingivitis Can Have Complications For The Baby
A study published in the Journal Of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, found that pregnancy gingivitis presents a risk of low birth weight and premature labor. The risk occurs when the bacteria causing the inflammation makes its way to the bloodstream (via the gums) and infects the fetus.
6. Complications Can Continue After Giving Birth
The effects of PV don't vanish after you give birth. Chase cautions that the long term effects of pregnancy gingivitis include gum recession, bone loss, permanent tooth sensitivity, and even tooth loss if untreated.
7. A Good Diet Is Helpful
Maintaining a healthy diet throughout pregnancy is something that has many benefits. But in the case of pregnancy gingivitis, eating well is a huge plus as a poor diet will only make the condition worse.