When a woman becomes pregnant, the last thing on her mind is likely whether or not her teeth and gums are healthy. However, it really should be something that one thinks about. As it turns out, women are sometimes subject to a unique condition called pregnancy gingivitis that can develop during pregnancy that puts the health of their gums at risk. Read on to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from it or to combat it.
1. What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis?
The condition in question is referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. It's a condition that strongly resembles standard gingivitis, but it only develops in women who are going through large hormonal fluctuations, like a period or a pregnancy. Most women won't experience it during their periods, but when pregnancy happens, estrogen and progesterone levels in the body shift and can make tissues (like your gums) more sensitive and inflamed.
Pregnancy gingivitis can cause all the same problems that standard gingivitis does. This means that you can end up putting up with reddened-looking gums, puffy gums, bleeding, and pain. If it isn't well controlled, it can also end up leading to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.
2. What to Do
If you're pregnant or hoping to get pregnant, it's a good idea to visit with a dentist before and during the pregnancy. If there are any issues already going on with your gums, like perhaps mild gingivitis, your dentist can get that under control before you become pregnant, which can lower your risk of developing pregnancy gingivitis.
Alternatively, if you visit during your pregnancy, your dentist can examine your teeth and gums for signs of pregnancy gingivitis. It's worth noting that while pregnancy gingivitis is primarily due to hormone fluctuations, any illness of the gums going into pregnancy increases your risk of developing this condition. So there's a good chance that a nice dental cleaning will reverse your pregnancy gingivitis or at least reduce its symptoms.
If you have ongoing pregnancy gingivitis your dentist will likely want to set up a regular schedule with you to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Once you deliver the baby, you should see your gums gradually return to normal.
Pregnancy gingivitis is an unusual condition to go through, but it does impact many women nonetheless. If you're worried about your gums going into your pregnancy, simply contact services like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA.