Is gingivitis common during pregnancy

Introduction

Pregnancy gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue in a pregnant woman. This condition is primarily caused by bacteria and exaggerated by hormones. Local irritants such as debris or bacteria and their products cause this enlargement. Hormonal changes during pregnancy increase this enlargement.

Statistics

The prevalence of gingivitis in pregnant women ranges from 30% to 100%. 4 in every 10 women were found to develop gingivitis at some stage during pregnancy.

Etiopathogenesis

An increase in estrogen and progesterone levels through pregnancy is associated with pregnancy gingivitis. Progesterone and estrogen levels are 10-30 times higher during pregnancy than during the normal menstrual cycle. An increase in the secretion of female sex hormones is essential for the normal progression of a pregnancy.

The local factors, i.e., debris and bacteria cause this enlargement during pregnancy. The hormonal factors (progesterone, estrogen) further increase this enlargement.

Clinical features

Pregnancy gingivitis is the most common oral feature of pregnancy. It affects a few or all teeth in the mouth. In pregnancy gingivitis hormonal changes along with debris causes swollen gums

These swollen gums bleed on brushing of the teeth. Bleeding of the gums also occurs spontaneously and while eating. The individual also experiences persistent bad odor in the mouth

This condition begins during the second month of pregnancy reaching its peak in the eight-month

This inflammation of the gums makes brushing and routine dental care uncomfortable leading to tooth decay.

Complications of pregnancy gingivitis

Pregnancy gingivitis can cause erosion of the gingiva, teeth decay and loss of tooth. It furthermore increases the risk of premature labor, pre-eclampsia and low-birth-weight babies. Pregnant women with this condition are 4 to 7 times more likely to deliver premature born and low –birth weight babies than women with healthy gums.

Treatment

Oral hygiene

Good dental care that is twice brushing of the teeth and flossing once a day is essential during pregnancy. Brushing using a soft bristle toothbrush causes less irritation to the gums

Flouride containing toothpaste further provides added benefits to your teeth and gums. Flouride inhibits tooth decay which might occur due to poor oral hygiene in pregnancy gingivitis.

Flossing eliminates the trapped food particles and debris in between the teeth

Balanced diet

Indulge in a diet rich in balanced foods, i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. Limit the intake of carbonated acidic juices or soda

Professional dental care

A regular dental visit for professional cleaning eliminate the factors causing gingivitis (debris, bacteria)

Gingivoplasty or Gingivectomy might be required after pregnancy in individuals with increased gingival enlargement



Antibiotics

In case of severe bacterial infections, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics to protect against infections. Common antibiotics prescribed during pregnancy include amoxicillin, ampicillin, clindamycin, erythromycin, penicillin, and Nitrofurantoin.

Prevention

In case you are pregnant or planning to conceive make sure you schedule a dental check up with the dentist. Your traditional oral health care practices might not be adequate. Meticulous oral hygiene practices should be initiated. A Waterpik in conjunction with tooth brushing is one of the most efficient ways to improve oral health

References

1. Niederman R. Pregnancy gingivitis and causal inference. Evidence-based dentistry. 2013 Dec;14(4):107.

2. Samant A, Malik CP, Chabra SK, Devi PK. Gingivitis and periodontal disease in pregnancy. Journal of Periodontology. 1976 Jul;47(7):415-8.


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