Watch Out for Pregnancy Gingivitis

By Patti Z.
March 8, 2013

Are you expecting? Risks from pregnancy gingivitis include gum disease and premature birth.

Last week I was in the dentist office for my routine cleaning and checkup. Dental visits are always a breeze thanks to my regular use of the Water Flosser. But during this visit, I noticed my gums were much more sensitive. I’m in the second trimester of my pregnancy and like 50-70% of pregnant women, I developed pregnancy gingivitis. I had no idea!

I had never experienced any pain or bleeding while brushing and my gums didn’t appear to look any different. But my hygienist explained that my gums had become slightly swollen from increased hormone production.

Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by an increased level of progesterone due to pregnancy. This hormone causes the body’s immune system to act differently. As a consequence, the gums can become more susceptible to the bacteria that causes gingivitis.

Pregnancy Gingivitis Symptoms

Like me, you may have gingivitis and not know it. But there are also certain pregnancy gingivitis symptoms that you should watch for:

  • Red gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Foul taste in your mouth or bad breath

How to Prevent Pregnancy Gingivitis

Good daily oral care is the best way to prevent pregnancy gingivitis:

  • Brush at least twice per day (especially after morning sickness)
  • Floss once per day
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse (you can even add it to your Water Flosser reservoir)
  • Continue to visit your dentist and hygienist for regular checkups and cleanings

Risks of Pregnancy Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontal disease. If not treated, gingivitis can become periodontitis – a more severe form of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss and other complications.

Studies have also shown that gum disease can lead to premature birth, contributing to low birth weight. If you have any concerns, make an appointment to see your dentist so you and your baby have a happy, healthy pregnancy.