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Are Pregnant Women More at Risk for Periodontal Disease?

Posted by: Dr. Sirakian     Categories: Dentistry, Oral Health


During pregnancy, it’s more common for women to experience problems with their gums and teeth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause sensitive teeth and gum swelling and bleeding.

Because of the changes to oral health during pregnancy, it is very important for pregnant women to practice good oral health care and to visit their dentist regarding any oral health issues that may arise. This can help prevent further damage to gums and teeth.

If you do not get treated for your problems with your teeth and gums then periodontitis can occur. During periodontal or gum disease, the gum pulls away the teeth and form pockets that later become infected. If periodontal disease is left untreated, it can result in tooth loss. Here are some potential symptoms, and how you can prevent them.

1. Pregnancy gingivitis

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy allow for bacteria to grow more easily in the mouth and in the gums. Since there are more bacteria in your mouth, there is an increased chance of periodontitis. Because your gums may be bleeding, receding, or sensitive, the bacteria have easier access to eat away at your gums.

Brushing with a soft-bristled brush and not brushing too aggressively can help. By brushing twice a day and flossing, you are eradicating damaging plaque and bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth. A soft-bristled brush can help prevent bleeding which is common due to the additional amount of blood you have in your body.

2. Nausea and vomiting

Morning sickness is common for most pregnant women and can harm teeth. The stomach acids that also come up when vomiting can damage your enamel. When the enamel is broken down, it is easier for acid and bacteria to attack teeth. This can cause sensitivity and decay.

Try chewing sugarless gum that contains xylitol to decrease the amount of plaque and acids on your teeth. Also try using a toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride.

While gum and teeth changes during pregnancy are painful, there are things you can do to alleviate the pain. Discuss additional options with your dentist to prevent any further damage to teeth and gums.

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