There’s a lot to think about when you learn that you’re pregnant, such as when to schedule your first prenatal appointment or how to keep your unborn baby healthy. These important concerns can make it all too easy to pay less attention to the state of your smile. However, good oral care is more important than ever during pregnancy since your body will be at a higher-than-average risk for gingivitis. Here’s what you need to know to keep your smile safe while you’re expecting.
What is the Connection Between Pregnancy and Gingivitis?
When you’re pregnant, your body starts producing more estrogen and progesterone. While these hormones play an important role in the baby’s development, they can also affect your body in several ways. And unfortunately, one of the changes they can cause is making the gums more susceptible to gingivitis. The exact reason for this isn’t completely clear, but it may be linked to increased blood flow to the gum tissue.
Between 60% and 75% of pregnant people are affected by gingivitis, with the condition typically first appearing between months 2 and 8. If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly, it can turn into periodontitis, which often results in tooth loss. In short, you need to be extra careful about taking care of your smile during pregnancy if you want to keep your gums healthy.
How Can You Prevent Gingivitis During Pregnancy?
There are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your risk of gingivitis while you’re pregnant, such as:
- Practicing Good Oral Hygiene: You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush that won’t irritate your gums. Don’t forget to floss as well; it’s the most reliable way to get rid of food particles and bacteria between your teeth.
- Eating a Healthy Diet: Stay away from sugary and starchy foods that can have a negative impact on your oral health. Focus on more smile-friendly foods such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
- Rinse with Salt Water: Mixing a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swishing it around in your mouth can help reduce the presence of harmful oral bacteria.
- Keep Up with Your Regular Dental Appointments: Even while you’re pregnant, you should still visit your dentist once every six months so that they can check for signs of gingivitis and other oral health problems.
You’ll have a lot on your mind throughout your pregnancy, but don’t forget to give your smile the attention it deserves. Being proactive about maintaining healthy gums can go a long way toward helping you avoid the worst long-term consequences of gingivitis.
About the Author
Dr. Zachary Carnow is a board-certified periodontist who has completed extensive training above and beyond what’s required for his specialty. At Frisco Periodontics and Dental Implants, he is proud to offer a variety of solutions for gum disease. If you have concerns about gingivitis during your pregnancy, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Carnow via his website or by calling (214) 619-4990.