What is gum disease?
Gingivitis (gum Disease) is inflammation of the gums most commonly caused by a build up of dental plaque. Most people will have gum disease to some extent during their life. Expectant mums are especially vulnerable to gingivitis because the increase in blood volume combined with pregnancy hormones means gums can swell and bleed more easily. There has been some research suggestiong that gum disease in pregnancy can lead to premature birth, but there isn't much evidence to support this theory. It's more likely that some mums with gingivitis deliver their babies early because of a poor diet, perhaps as a result of a reduced appetite, which has been linked by some researchers with gum disease.
What are the symptoms of Gingivitis?
Swollen gums; bleeding gums, especially after brushing or flossing.
What are the treatments and remedies of Gingivitis?
You need to pay just as much attention to your teeth and gums – if not more so – during pregnancy than at other times. Plaque itself can make your gums more prone to bleeding, so you need to keep it at bay. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day and floss regularly. Using an electric toothbrush is more effective than using a manual type, and it can also help to reduce swelling.You may find that brushing makes your gums bleed, but this will happen until the inflamation goes down, so don't worry too much about it.
You're entitled to free dental care in pregnancy and for a year after your baby is born, so take full advantage of this. You may need regular visits to the hygienist if you have gingivitis. Talk to your dentist about other strategies for dealing with gingivitis: they might be able to suggest a mouthwash that's appropriate for you to use in pregnancy, or come up with other tips
The information in this Bounty A-Z of Family Health is not a substitute for an examination, diagnosis or treatment by a doctor, midwife, health visitor or any other qualified health professional. If in doubt, always speak to a doctor.
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For health advice and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the NHS offers call and web services. You can also visit NHS websites for services, health information and health news at nhs.uk
- England – call 111 from any landline or mobile phone free of charge, or visit nhs.uk
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- Wales – call 0845 4647 , or visit nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk
- Northern Ireland – visit hscni.net
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