You may wonder why I am having bleeding or sore gums after becoming pregnant. Well many women either develop problems with gums and teeth or their condition worsens during pregnancy. Gingivitis during pregnancy hits women more often during the first trimester itself and it may worsen and continue being a problem even after delivery.
Essentially gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It is the mildest form of gum or periodontal disease. Gingivitis becomes apparent when healthy pinkish gums turn reddish and may bleed when you brush or floss. It is thought to be a result of plaque accumulating in the teeth and gum areas. Plaque contains bacteria from our saliva mixed with residues from sugar and carbohydrates from the food we eat. Over time this gelatinous substance called plaque hardens into brittle, stubborn substance called tartar.
The symptoms include swelling, gums that easily bleed and some amount of puffiness and redness in the gum area. A little gap known as gingivital pocket may also develop between the gum and the crown of the tooth. Gingivitis is generally painless and therefore often goes unnoticed in people who do not go for regular dental checks. Because it goes undetected most of the time, the problem only comes to your notice when you experience bleeding gums made more obvious by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
- It commonly occurs because of neglect. Poor dental hygiene i.e. improper brushing and infrequent flossing leads to accumulation of plaque on the teeth and this eventually irritates the gums.
- Gingivitis may develop during times of hormonal changes and that's why for some people it develops as early as puberty. Gingivitis during pregnancy, during periods and in women who are using oral contraceptive pills worsen because of the changes in hormones.
- Gingivitis can also happen to people who have poorly aligned teeth as this causes plaque to be trapped.
Gingivitis Treatment and Prevention
- The treatment for gingivitis at the dentist is simple. It involves scaling to remove plaque and tartar. This should be followed up with daily home care. If there are misaligned teeth or poor-job fillings, your dentist will probably look into that as well to clean out hidden plaque.
- Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every day at least once will keep plaque in check and control the progress of gingivitis.
- Limit your intake of sweets and sugary foods and drinks
- Arrange for professional cleaning once or twice a year. During pregnancy increase the frequency of dental visits to keep the problem at bay (every 4 months maybe).
The Final Word
Dental care becomes very important because preexisting gum problems can worsen during pregnancy. Gum care should be your daily business; twice a day brushing and at least once a day flossing. Tartar control toothpastes have not proven to be beneficial because they are not able to attack the tartar problem below the gumline. There is not enough backup to indicate that antimicrobial mouthwash can cure gingivitis. So, the best way to prevent any gum disease is to be vigilant in your home care and to make periodic visits to the dentist for a thorough clean.