Pregnancy and Gingivitis

Pregnant woman

Continuing on with our pregnancy and child development topics we wanted to discuss pregnancy and its effect on the gum tissues.  Many patients tell me that they had great teeth and then they had kids and they stole all their calcium and now they have horrible teeth.  This may not exactly be the case but what we do see, almost 100% of the time with pregnancy is pregnancy gingivitis. 

There is no denying that you have a lot going on in your first, second and third trimester and then a lot on your plate following delivery.  The body knows this and is channeling all of its efforts at supporting your baby.  Fetal development is fascinating and it is remarkable how we grow and are born.  When the baby is in utero the mother's natural defenses are all honed in on fetal development that the cells responsible for fighting the bacteria found to accumulate in oral plaque and contribute to gingivitis are not as active.  As a result many of our pregnant patients see some mild inflammation in their gum tissues and tend to bleed a little more easily when flossing or caring for their teeth.  In some cases the inflammatory reaction to the plaque levels is so heighted we see what is called a pyogenic granuloma form (shown below).  This is commonly called a pregnancy tumor. 

An example of a pyogenic granuloma (also known as a Pregnancy Tumor), a benign, reversible, oral condition seen during times of pregnancy.

An example of a pyogenic granuloma (also known as a Pregnancy Tumor), a benign, reversible, oral condition seen during times of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, we generally will wait until delivery to treat the condition as it is reversible after delivery, and usually its onset is plaque accumulation on the teeth and under the gums. 

It is so important to visit with your general dentist during your pregnancy, before if possible and always after delivery.  Stay meticulous about your hygiene and all should be fine.  This response is normal!