Pregnancy gingivitis, bad breath and periodontal disease: What to watch for
SUMMARY: What happens when pregnancy gingivitis goes untreated? It can seem like a little inflammation and soreness is no big deal, but scientists say otherwise.
Posted: November 4, 2011
You may have heard about it briefly in the news and been left wondering if it's real or just another made-up condition. However, pregnancy gingivitis exists, and its complications can include bad breath, tooth decay, oral infections or worse.
Fortunately, there are plenty of specialty breath fresheners on the market that can clear up halitosis and gum disease related to pregnancy. The very best products are safe for mothers-to-be to use, contain all-natural ingredients and dispense with harsh or synthetic chemicals.
When a couple conceives, a woman's body chemistry begins to change. Her hormones shift radically. Most people are aware of the common symptoms, like cravings, nausea and irritability. Less well known is that fact that women who are expecting a baby should expect to have some gum inflammation.
This condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis. It's a bacterial problem, which means that microbe-busting specialty breath freshening products may be able to prevent it, or at least reduce its severity.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), this form of gum disease occurs when pregnancy slows your body's response to oral bacteria. Without an optimum ability to fight off infection, your gums can become red, swollen and tender to the touch.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology Online described how a woman's oral biofilm - that is, the bacterial ecology of her mouth - can change during pregnancy. The report noted that at 12 weeks after conception, participants' gums were more likely to bleed when gently probed. The authors found higher than average concentrations of the microbes associated with gum disease.
Other than inflammation, one of the prime symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis is bad breath. Of course, plenty of expecting mothers have halitosis without any gum disease, but it is important to be proactive and use a specialty rinse that kills bacteria and reduces oral odor.
Getting rid of halitosis can be a real relief, since mothers-to-be often have a heightened sense of smell. Likewise, women who are trying to get pregnant may find that when they are ovulating, they can smell even the smallest whiff of bad breath. This phenomenon is caused by hormonal changes, the Mayo Clinic states.
While a hormone-sensitized nose can go away on its own, halitosis caused by pregnancy gingivitis requires more active measures. The APA recommends brushing often and rinsing periodically with warm water. Also, try gargling with a mouth-moistening, oxygenating breath rinse.
What happens when pregnancy gingivitis goes untreated? It can seem like a little inflammation and soreness is no big deal, but scientists say otherwise.
Pregnancy-related gum disease can get worse over time. In its severest form, this condition can lead to periodontal disease, which is an infection of the bone bed that your teeth are rooted in. Periodontitis is no laughing matter. It causes powerful bad breath and increases your likelihood of loosing teeth.
Even worse, studies have shown that prenatal periodontal disease can increase the risk of early delivery. A literature review appearing in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) announced that periodontitis leads to an inflammatory response that could boost the likelihood of pre-term birth.
Researchers were careful to note that, in all the prior studies they surveyed, results were varied. However, other reports - like a similar meta-study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - have confirmed that the risk is real.
Fortunately, treatments for periodontal disease are safe for both mother and child, the JADA study's author's said. But rather than let pregnancy gingivitis get that advanced, consider using specialty dental rinses to freshen your breath and wash away harmful bacteria.
Remember to stick to all-natural, alcohol-free rinses!