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Gingivitis is an infection of the gums caused by plaque bacteria. It results in inflammation of the gums. Pregnancy gingivitis occurs when changes during pregnancy can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation, swelling, and bleeding.
In many cases, pregnancy gingivitis is minor and goes away on its own. But if severe or left untreated, gingivitis can cause tooth decay. It can also spread to the underlying bone, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Pregnant people have an increased risk of developing gingivitis. By some estimates, 60 to 75% of pregnant people develop gingivitis.1
Currently, researchers think pregnant people are more likely to develop gingivitis because of:
Many people develop pregnancy gingivitis, or notice their symptoms are most severe, during the second trimester of pregnancy to the end of pregnancy.
The most common symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis are red, swollen, sore gums. But it may also cause:
In most cases, pregnancy gingivitis resolves once someone has delivered their baby. While it may take some time to go away, symptoms typically reduce gradually after being pregnant.
The best treatment for pregnancy gingivitis is getting frequent dental cleanings. If you have gingivitis, your dentist will also recommend you practice extremely good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing more frequently.
Additional treatments for mild pregnancy gingivitis include:
Treatments for severe pregnancy gingivitis include:
You cannot change many of the underlying factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis during pregnancy. But there are some ways to reduce the risk of pregnancy gingivitis or prevent it, such as:
If you notice changes in your gums or oral health, speak to a dentist. Visit a dentist as soon as possible if you:
The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to maintain dental care while pregnant.
“Professional dental care is critical in a pregnant woman’s life, and maintaining oral health is directly linked to good overall systemic health,” says Nandita Lilly, D.M.D., one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists.
Many pregnant people develop gingivitis while they’re pregnant. This is likely due to surges in estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy, which makes the body more susceptible to infection.
Increased blood flow to the gum tissues, cravings for sugars or carbohydrates, and exposure of the teeth to stomach acids after vomiting also increase the chances of developing gingivitis during pregnancy.
Most people with pregnancy gingivitis notice their symptoms resolve naturally after giving birth.
If you notice changes in your gum health during pregnancy, or the symptoms don't go away on their own after pregnancy, talk to a dentist.
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