Periodontal Health and Pregnancy

gum disease Pittsburgh

If you’re trying to conceive or have already had success in doing so, you probably have a long list of healthy habits you’re determined to keep. Taking your vitamins. Eating a well-balanced diet. Visiting your doctor regularly.

Did you know that you should add consulting with dentist or periodontist to your list of prenatal precautions? Good gum health is central to good prenatal health.

Gum disease, or inflammation of the gum tissue, has been linked to a number of pregnancy-related problems, including pre-eclampsia, pre-term birth and low birth weight. As a result, women who intend to become pregnant should take steps to protect their periodontal health.

Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease, which can occur in the form of the milder gingivitis or more severe periodontitis. An increase in progesterone can create a nurturing environment for the oral bacteria that attack the gums. That is, pregnant women are more susceptible to the bacteria that cause gum disease.

At the same time, the gums may have a more robust response to such an attack, resulting in increased redness, bleeding and swelling.

Pregnant women may also develop tumors in their gums, although these tumors are almost always benign. Those tumors, which occur most often during the second trimester, tend to go away after childbirth. Sometimes they must be removed by a professional, though.

Ideally, you should have any gum disease under control before becoming pregnant. If you plan to attempt to conceive, schedule an evaluation with a periodontist to see if you need any treatment. If you’ve postponed a trip to the dentist or a specialist, you can still get a professional cleaning or some other periodontal intervention safely during your second trimester.

The periodontist can also make recommendations for a home oral hygiene routine that will maintain your periodontal health. Keep in mind that when you are pregnant, it is particularly important to brush twice a day and floss daily.

Contact the Pittsburgh office of Dr. Garry J. Bloch for additional information and to schedule your periodontal evaluation today.