Treating Gum Disease Naturally During Pregnancy
When gum disease is in its early stages, it is known as gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums.If gingivitis goes untreated, it can develop into periodontitis, a more serious issue that involves the inflamed gums pulling from the teeth, leaving small areas, or pockets, for bacterial infections to inhabit.
When To Contact A Doctor For Pregnancy Swelling
Mild ankle and foot swelling during pregnancy is to be expected. However, sudden and painful swelling, especially in just one leg, may be a sign of deep venous thrombosis or a blood clot.
At times, sudden swelling is also indicative of preeclampsia. Its a potentially serious condition that affects women, particularly those with chronic illnesses, late in their pregnancy.
Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Sudden swelling of the face, hands, or feet
- Severe headaches
- Vision problems
- Severe pain right below the ribs
- Sudden shortness of breath
In general, swelling during pregnancy is a common occurrence for most women. Do everything you can to lessen its impact on your body, and seek medical attention if the condition worsens.
How Should I Treat Pregnancy Gingivitis
As long as you care for your teeth properly during pregnancy, you wonât have any long-term complications due to pregnancy gingivitis, and your gums will quickly recover after you give birth. So to keep your gums and teeth healthy, make sure to follow these steps during pregnancy:
- Brush and floss properly â Make sure to brush twice a day and to floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles, and decrease the risk of developing gingivitis.
- Rinse with saltwater â This is particularly helpful if you have morning sickness. Gargling with saltwater can help remove stomach acid that can damage your teeth and gums, and helps soothe gum inflammation.
- Use antibacterial mouthwash â Adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine can help remove bacteria and reduce plaque formation. You can rinse as often as you like, but mouthwash is particularly effective after you floss, since it helps remove loosened food particles and plaque.
- See the dentist â You need to get a preventive checkup every six months, particularly if youâre pregnant. A dentist like Dr. James Burden can ensure that pregnancy gingivitis, if present, is not out of control, and provide you with tips and instructions on proper oral care during pregnancy.
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Most Effective Remedies For Teeth And Gum Problems In Pregnancy
Since the hormone progesterone softens your gums and enhances the amount of blood supplied to them, your gums could bleed when you brush your teeth or even floss them. Eating and drinking could be disrupted for a while. Furthermore, painkillers will not suit your present condition, so immediate relief might seem to be an impossible thing to achieve. Fortunately, for swollen gums during pregnancy, certain home remedies have proven to be extremely effective, as they can prevent and provide relief from gingivitis and periodontitis.
Use the following remedies if you are plagued by tooth pain and bleeding gums during pregnancy:
Pregnancy Gingivitis: Symptoms & Treatments During Pregnancy
What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?
Between 60% & 70% of women experience gingivitis while pregnant. Pregnancy gingivitis is very similar to the gingivitis that occurs outside of pregnancy and can include a mild inflammation of the gums due to plaque buildup, with red and sore gums that bleed when probed. If you have red, sensitive, or swollen gums during pregnancy, youre not alone.
Pregnancy Gingivitis Causes
Theres a direct connection between pregnancy and bleeding gums. During pregnancy, increased levels of the hormone, progesterone, cause an increased response to plaque bacteria which can lead to gingivitis. As a result, pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis. Dont worry though, knowing how to find the best anti-gingivitis toothpaste and best anti-gingivitis mouthwash will help fight off this disease during a time when the health of you and your baby is your top priority. Talking to your dentist and hygienist about this elevated risk before and during this special time in your life can also help reverse or prevent gingivitis.
Pregnancy Gingivitis Symptoms
Youve got a lot going on when youre pregnant, so your oral health may not exactly be top-of-mind. But because your risk of gingivitis increases, its as important as ever to maintain the health of your gums and teeth. Be aware of key signs and symptoms of gingivitis, like red, swollen gums or gums that bleed when you brush.
Pregnancy Gingivitis Treatments and Prevention
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When To See Your Dentist
Contact your dentist if youve noticed any changes in your teeth or gums that you think should be immediately addressed.
Sometimes pregnant women develop what are called pregnancy tumors on the gums. These lumps are benign and usually go away after you deliver. Still, they can bleed and your dentist can remove them if they bother you.
Tell your dentist about your pregnancy, even if you havent told your friends and family. This information is important so you can get the best care. You should also keep up with regularly scheduled cleanings during your pregnancy and ask your dentist if they recommend more frequent visits.
You can usually schedule X-rays for after your pregnancy if youre worried about the risk of radiation.
If your dentist does need to perform an X-ray, youll be given an apron to lay over your abdomen and another one to cover your thyroid for safety.
Which Products Can You Use To Help With Teeth Sensitivity When You Are Pregnant
First and foremost, you should ask your dentist, doctor or midwife if you’re unsure which products are safe to use during your pregnancy, since advice may be different for each individual.
Your dentist might suggest using a sensitive toothpaste or mouthwash to help ease sensitive teeth in early pregnancy. There are plenty on the market to choose from, some that include fluoride and some that dont.
Fluoride can be helpful in strengthening teeth enamel, but you may have concerns about using it when pregnant. It is perfectly safe to use as long as you dont swallow any, but there are plenty of non-fluoride options as well.
Toothpaste for sensitivity like Sensodyne Sensitive Toothpaste Rapid Relief is a good place to start. Or, you can try BioMin F or C if you arent keen on products including fluoride. There are also a lot of sensitive mouthwashes on the market that you can add to your daily routine, or use after morning sickness instead of brushing!
You might also want to consider a specialist treatment for sensitive teeth during pregnancy, like Hismile’s NHPro enamel care serum. Added to your regular daily oral hygiene routine, this serum can help to remineralise and desensitise your teeth.
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Gum Disease And Premature Birth
At least a couple of major studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and premature birth. Researchers of one study who published their results in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely and underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums.
Mothers with the most severe periodontal disease delivered the most prematurely, at 32 weeks. Itâs unclear whether treating gum disease reduces the risk of preterm birth.
What Can Help To Reduce Swelling
- avoid standing for long periods
- wear comfortable shoes and socks avoid tight straps or anything that might pinch if your feet swell
- try to rest with your feet up as much as you can
- drink plenty of water this helps your body get rid of excess water
- exercise try to take regular walks during the day or doing foot exercises
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Periodontal Changes During Pregnancy
In accordance with previous studies , recent cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have further confirmed and extended the association between pregnancy and gingival condition in many cultural and ethnic groups. In 2000, a group of researchers reported the findings of the study including 47 pregnant women and 47 nonpregnant women who served as matched controls in a rural population of Sri Lankans . The periodontal status of the pregnant women was evaluated in the first, second, and third trimester of pregnancy and the final examination was at three months postpartum. The authors found that although the plaque levels remained unchanged, the gingival index of pregnant women was significantly increased and peaked in the third trimester but dropped at 3 months postpartum . The results were consistent with the findings of another cohort study in 2003 consisting of 200 pregnant women and 200 nonpregnant controls in Jordan . In this study, it was reported that pregnant women had significantly higher GI and periodontal pocket depth with similar plaque index compared with nonpregnant women. The clinical parameters increased in parallel with the increase in the stage of pregnancy, which reached the maximum at the eighth month . In another companion study with a smaller sample size of 19 pregnant women, bleeding on probing decreased from 41.2% at the twelfth week of pregnancy to 26.6% postpartum without any active periodontal therapy .
Hormones And Swollen Gums
From sleep disruption to mood swings, your pregnancy hormones can wreak havoc on your day-to-day. It’s normal for the hormones associated with pregnancy estrogen and progesterone to spike 10- and 30-fold, reports the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research . You may be so focused on eating well and getting enough rest that you’re not aware that your oral care deserves the same attention when you’re expecting.
While your body is busy sustaining your growing baby, the increased blood flow necessary to do so is also a direct cause of swollen gums. Your pregnancy won’t cause periodontal disease, but it may worsen the condition, notes the JCDR. Committed oral care during pregnancy is one of the most helpful steps to preventing and decreasing inflammation in your gums.
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A Time Of Systemic Changes
Pregnancy is a time of ultimate body transformation. Most men will not experience half the changes a pregnant woman must cope with during the months in which a new person is created. Hormonal changes, organ compression and expansion, changes to equilibrium and gait, and changes to your skin and hair are just a few. Unfortunately, theres another change that many women can add to the list: pregnancy gingivitis.
Its estimated that 50-70 percent of pregnant women experience sensitive and swollen gums at some point in their pregnancy. Even for a woman with stellar oral health, the changes to her oral inflammatory response can turn her normally easy oral care routine into a painful situation. Changing hormone levels bring more blood to your soft tissues and this can make your gums more sensitive to flossing. Any irritation may quickly result is swelling and bleeding. If you already suffer from mild gingivitis, your gum health can deteriorate quickly into full blown periodontitis, a condition that, while treatable, has no cure.
Changing hormones bring more blood to the soft tissues your usual cleaning routine may be too much for your gums during pregnancy. Harsh brushing and flossing can now lead to swollen, bleeding gums.
What Can You Do To Manage Your Swollen Gums During Pregnancy
Good dental care is essential during pregnancy. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. A soft toothbrush may cause less irritation to your gums. You should also keep your scheduled professional cleanings and discuss any problems with your dentist.
If gingivitis is left unchecked it may lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis during pregnancy increases the chance of preterm birth. The good news is that with good oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings, there should be nothing for you to worry about.
Here are a few things that you can do to manage swollen gums and have healthier oral hygiene:
- Have at least one oral checkup with your dentist during pregnancy.
- Use a daily or periodic warm salt water rinse .
- Brush your teeth twice per day, especially after vomiting from morning sickness.
- Practice good nutrition.
Your gums usually return to normal following the delivery of your baby. The bleeding and sensitivity should diminish as well. Contact your dentist if swelling and irritation worsen during your pregnancy or continue after delivery.
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When Does Swelling Occur During Pregnancy
Pregnancy swelling could happen at any time, but it most often presents itself during month 5, and gradually increases as you enter the third trimester.
Other contributing factors include:
- Hot weather, especially when youre being physically active
- Fatigue and standing for extended periods of time
- A high-sodium diet
Risks To You And Your Baby
Just because your swollen gums are caused by pregnancy hormones doesnt mean there are no health risks. Pregnancy gingivitis comes with all of the same complications as regular gum disease, including increased chance of infection, more cavities, receding gums, or even loss of teeth.
In addition, studies have linked pregnancy gingivitis to preterm and low birthweight babies. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream through infected gums, and this bacteria can make its way to the uterus, increasing inflammation, and in some cases triggering premature labor. This is especially of concern for women with preexisting gum disease.
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Pregnancy Tumors In Mouth
Sometimes a large lump with deep red pinpoint markings on it forms on inflamed gum tissue, usually near the upper gum line. The red lump glistens, may bleed and crust over, and can make eating and speaking difficult and cause discomfort. These growths are called pregnancy tumors and can occur at any time during the course of pregnancy, although they usually occur during the second trimester.
Don’t let the word ”tumor” worry you. These growths are not cancerous and can’t spread. A pregnancy tumor is an extreme inflammatory reaction to a local irritation . The tumors occur in up to 10% of pregnant women and often in women who also have pregnancy gingivitis.
Pregnancy tumors are also known by several other names, including pyogenic granuloma, granuloma of pregnancy, lobular capillary hemangioma, and pregnancy epulides.
Pregnancy tumors usually disappear on their own after the baby’s birth. However, if the tumor interferes with eating, your dentist or a specialist may choose to remove it. This involves a simple procedure performed under local anesthesia. Even if the tumor is removed during pregnancy, it redevelops in about half the cases.
Swollen Gums During Pregnancy
Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums also known as swollen gums. Swollen gums during pregnancy may be sore and more susceptible to bleeding. Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by the hormonal changes that increase the blood flow to the gum tissue and cause your gums to be more sensitive, irritable, and swollen.
These hormonal changes also hinder the bodys normal response to bacteria which can cause periodontal infections. This makes it easier for plaque to build up on your teeth and makes you more susceptible to gingivitis. The severity of pregnancy gingivitis usually increases in the second trimester.
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Can I Prevent Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy
Probably. Getting regular dental checkups and cleanings is as important during pregnancy as ever. But research suggests that some women skip the dentist when they’re expecting. The reasons: Theyre already dealing with nausea or acid reflux and dont relish the thought of someone sticking something in their mouth, or they have an irrational fear of the effects of dental procedures on their baby-to-be.
Now is no time to let your oral health slide, though. Taking extra good care of your choppers and gums during pregnancy means both will stay strong and healthy longer.
Vomiting Can Damage Teeth
Pregnancy hormones soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Gastric reflux or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can cover your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage the surface of the tooth and increase the risk of decay.
Try these suggestions if youre experiencing vomiting:
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the actions of brushing may scratch the tooth enamel.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water.
- Follow up with a mouthwash containing fluoride.
- If you don’t have a fluoridated mouthwash, put a blob of toothpaste containing fluoride on your finger and smear it over your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water.
- Wait for an hour after vomiting before you brush.
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Changes To Your Mouth During Pregnancy
Hormones cause your gums to swell at various times in life, including during pregnancy. All of that extra estrogen and progesterone your body needs to grow a baby also causes extra blood to flow to your gums. This, in turn, makes your gums more sensitive to plaque and bacteria, causing swelling and bleeding AKA pregnancy gingivitis. Women are most susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis between the second and eighth months of pregnancy.
Gingivitis, during pregnancy or otherwise, is a mild form of gum disease. If left untreated, though, gingivitis leads to more serious gum disease and increases your risk of cavities and loss of bone around your teeth. In other words, although pregnancy gingivitis seems like nothing more than an annoyance, it is wise to take it seriously.
Some Dental Problems Can Affect A Developing Baby
Research has found a link between severe gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely can have a risk of brain injury, and problems with their eyesight and hearing.
Its been suggested that up to 18 out of every 100 premature births could be linked to severe gum infection . Gum disease can be treated by a dentist during pregnancy.
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