Gum problems in pregnant women

Dra. Libertad Caro
Specialist in Periodontology and Dental Implantology

Pregnancy is related to a series of hormonal changes that affect the gums particularly intensely. Numerous studies link gum problems to pregnancy. These problems are usually related to an increase in gum bleeding during pregnancy, including in women who have excellent oral hygiene.

HORMONAL CHANGES

Gum care for women is essential not only during pregnancy, but also during other times of hormonal change.
Oestrogen is a very important hormone during pregnancy, as among other functions, it stimulates the growth of the uterus and increases blood flow to the placenta. During pregnancy, the level of oestrogen in the blood increases and this increase produces effects in other parts of a woman’s body. In the mouth, the oestrogen also increases blood flow to the gums and consequently, increases gum bleeding during pregnancy.
The oestrogen also acts as a nutrient for the bacteria found on the teeth, increasing production of bacterial toxins that destroy the gums and bone supporting the teeth. This and other factors predispose pregnant women to gingivitis.

SPECIFIC CARE DURING PREGNANCY

A dentist or periodontist must oversee oral health care during pregnancy in order to avoid undesirable effects over the course of the pregnancy.

Dental cleaning during the pregnancy must be:

Regular: it is recommended at least 3 times a day, after each meal.
Disciplined: cleaning the whole dental surface area in an orderly fashion to make sure all areas are cleaned.
Exhaustive: don’t use only toothbrushes, but also dental scrapers, interdental brushes and dental floss in order to clean between the teeth.

Oral hygiene during pregnancy also requires use of oral antiseptics in the form of mouthwash, as well as cleanings and/or prophylaxis at dental clinics. These cleanings can be done every 3, 4 or 6 months according to what the dental specialist considers appropriate after an individual assessment of each pregnant woman.

Specialist periodontology clinics recommend women take care of their gums during all stages of life, but especially during periods of hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

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