The answer is yes. Any hormonal changes can have an effect on your oral health, and pregnancy is rife with hormonal changes. A surge in hormones can exaggerate the way your gingival tissue reacts to the bacterial plaque that forms on your teeth and along your gumline. So, if you’re pregnant and are wondering if it can affect your oral health, the answer is a resounding yes!
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal, or gum, disease, and develops when bacterial plaque builds up on your teeth and gums and isn’t removed in a timely manner. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, sore, tender, swollen gums that bleed when you brush and/or floss. Many women are affected by “pregnancy gingivitis” to some degree during their pregnancy and it usually develops around the second month. However, if you already have gingivitis, your oral health is likely to worsen during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are also at risk for developing pregnancy tumors. These are non-cancerous, inflammatory growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. Because such tumors are harmless, they are usually left alone unless they begin to interfere with brushing, flossing, chewing, or other oral hygiene procedures, at which point you may opt to have them removed. However, once the baby is born the tumors normally disappear on their own.
Preventing Problems During Pregnancy
By being a bit more diligent with your oral health care you can prevent gingivitis from developing. Adhering to the following guidelines can help:
- Brush every morning, after each meal, and before bed
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss daily
- If brushing exacerbates morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or with an antiplaque and fluoride mouthwash
- Include plenty of the vitamins C and B12 in your diet
- Attend your dental cleanings
- Working diligently to control plaque will reduce gum irritation and decrease the likelihood of pregnancy tumors.