Sore, swollen gums are a common side effect of pregnancy. Hormonal imbalances make gums more vulnerable to plaque, which can lead to inflammations and bleeding – a form of gum disease known as pregnancy gingivitis. While your dentist will be able to help you manage gingivitis if it develops, there are various precautions you can take to reduce your chance of incurring problems.
Keeping Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
When you're pregnant, your body is especially fragile. Taking extra special care over your teeth and gums will make your mouth less susceptible to problems. Clean your teeth twice per day for two minutes with a small-headed toothbrush, and floss once per day. Even if you have pregnancy cravings, avoid drinking fizzy drinks, sweat tea and acidic foods. Do not use mouthwash that contains alcohol and stop smoking.
Common Pregnancy Gingivitis Side Effects
When you suffer from pregnancy gingivitis you could develop growths – pyogenic granuloma – on or under the inflamed gum tissue. They usually develop on the upper gum line and could cause discomfort and pain when you eat and speak. Although they can occur at any point during pregnancy, in most cases they will develop during the second trimester. Pregnancy gum growths will usually disappear on their own after the baby is born. If they don't, your dentist can remove them with a simple procedure performed under local anaesthesia.
If you are suffering from morning sickness, it's best to rinse your mouth with plain water. This will reduce the acid in your mouth and help stop it from eroding your teeth. Do not brush your teeth straight afterwards, otherwise you could work the acid into the surface. Wait for at least an hour. To protect your teeth further, you could make your own mouthwash by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of water. This will neutralize the acids.
Speaking To Your Dentist
Although most dental treatments are safe during all trimesters of pregnancy, you should still inform your dentist if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. While you shouldn't be afraid of x-rays, fillings, root canals or any other basic dental procedures, your dentist may make specific treatment decisions or oral hygiene recommendations based on your condition. For example, your dentist may recommend laser dentistry when performing surgery in order to reduce the need for anesthesia. In addition, make sure you don't miss any scheduled dental appointments. Having your teeth professionally cleaned while you're going through a pregnancy is extremely important.