Pregnancy Gingivitis: What You Need to Know

By Penny McGee Kopf, RDH; BS

You’re 8 weeks pregnant, nauseous, vomiting, heartburn, tired and now on top of it, your teeth hurt and your gums are inflamed, puffy and bleeding.

50% or more of all pregnancies experience this uncomfortable condition, usually between the second and eighth months. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Your estrogen and progesterone levels are higher than they have ever been. This causes the body, including the mouth to retain fluid and higher hormone levels result in capillary formation in the gum tissue. The result? Sore, swollen, bleeding gums.

This altered environment in your mouth is more conducive to bacterial plaque accumulation which exacerbates the situation. And, because your mouth hurts, your overall oral hygiene may suffer.

Meticulous oral care will solve your problem. With a bit of extra time and effort, you can keep Pregnancy Gingivitis at bay. Here’s how

Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush, manual or power, for 2 minutes
Use a fluoridated toothpaste that targets plaque accumulation
Floss more than ever
• Invest in and use an oral irrigation device
• Rinse with an alcohol free, fluoridated mouth rinse
• Make sure you have your dental cleaning

Your dentist or dental hygienist may also suggest you come in for an extra visit during your pregnancy to minimize plaque buildup.

So, with a little extra awareness and care, your mouth will stay healthy. And those swollen, bleeding gums will disappear after your baby is delivered.

Penny McGee Kopf, RDH; BS is a registered dental hygienist licensed in the states of Maryland and New Jersey . She completed her degree requirements at Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaneck, New Jersey in 1969 and 1971 and expanded functions licensure at Bergen Community College in 1985. Her clinical experience spans 41 years, divided between general and periodontics practice.