During pregnancy, swelling and inflammation of the gums can occur due to change in hormones (I.e. increase in estrogen and progesterone), leading to gingivitis. The change in hormones can make it easier for certain types of bacteria to grow. This can lead to swelling, bleeding and puffiness of the gums. Pregnancy gingivitis can occur at any stage of pregnancy but is more common in the second and third trimester. Pregnancy gingivitis usually subsides on it’s own after birth but if left untreated, can progress into a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that affects the bone and ligament of the teeth.
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis may include all or just some of the following list.
Irritated or tender gums
Gums that bleed easier while brushing and/or flossing,
Gum tumours (overgrowth of gum tissue between teeth- usually localized)
Gums more red and shiny in appearance
Although it is difficult to prevent pregnancy gingivitis from occurring, there are ways to reduce the severity of the symptoms. Listed below are ways to manage pregnancy gingivitis.
Good oral hygiene- Using a toothbrush and dental floss to remove plaque bacteria. The gums response to plaque is more severe during pregnancy so it is best practice to keep teeth as clean as possible. This means brushing at least 2 times per day and flossing at least once a day.
Mouth rinse- Using a mouth rinse daily with active ingredients to reduce gum inflammation.
Good diet- Follow a balanced diet high in vitamins and nutrients
Manage stress- Managing stress balances out hormone levels
Rinse with salt water- Salt water can reduce inflammation and keep gums healthy
Visit your dentist for a check up/ cleaning- Professional dental cleanings will reduce the amount of oral bacteria, which will keep the gums healthier. It may even be recommended to have more frequent cleanings depending on the severity of the pregnancy gingivitis.