You might have heard of the rumor that you are not suppose to get your teeth cleaned during pregnancy. (Learn more about dental misconceptions) That is simply a myth. In the contrary, dental cleaning is exceptionally important when you are pregnant. Pregnant women are prone to develop a condition called “pregnancy gingivitis”. The elevated hormone level during pregnancy increases the blood flow into the gum. It makes women extra sensitive to irritation such as dental plaque. About 60-70% of the pregnant women develop pregnancy gingivitis. It usually occurs after the second month of pregnancy, and reaches a maximum level around the eighth month.
Reddening gums, bleeding during flossing and brushing are all symptoms of pregnant gingivitis. Like regular gingivitis, it is not a serious condition. However, if left untreated, pregnant gingivitis can lead to premature birth and underweight babies. In addition to regular flossing and brushing twice a day, pregnant women should also receive professional dental cleaning by dental hygienist every six month. Just remember to tell your dentist or hygienist that you are pregnant and remind them not to take x-rays on you. If oral hygiene is properly maintained, gingivitis should go away within two weeks.
Sometimes, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to a more uncomfortable condition called “pregnancy tumor“. They are red lumps forming on the gums. Pregnancy tumor is not as frightening as it sounds. Although they are called tumors, they are not cancerous, and usually goes away shortly after giving birth. Occasionally, they can cause discomfort and irritates you when you eat. If it starts to bother your too much, you can always call your dentist to have it surgically removed. It is a fairly safe and simple procedure that requires local anesthetics.
Pregnant or not, everyone should keep a good flossing and brushing habit. It keeps your teeth healthy and can save you thousands of dollars on dental work.