Pregnancy is defined as a state that includes fertilization, implantation, embryonic and fetal growth. Gingival enlargement begins with increasing Gonadotropin level (hormones responsible for reproduction) and is maintained through months 3 to 8 of pregnancy.
Pregnancy gingivitis is inflammation (swelling) of the gingival tissue caused by hormonal changes and progesterone. The prevalence of gingivitis during pregnancy has been studied in different population and it varies between 67 to 100%. The prevalence is circa 85.2% in Nigeria.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Erythema (redness)
- Edema (swollen gum)
- Hyperplasia (excess gum swelling)
- Increased spaces between tooth and gum
- Bleeding gum
- Mobile tooth
- Pain on gum while brushing or eating.
- Mouth odor
- Brush teeth twice a day (morning and the last thing at night before sleeping);
- Dental floss use after eating;
- Occasional use of mouthwashes as prescribed by the dentist;
- Eat food with plenty of vitamin B12 and vitamin C. Common food that contains these vitamins include vegetables, fruits, soya beans, low fat milk, eggs, beef, kidney/liver, grains;
- Visit a dentist for advice on preventing/controlling plaque and gingivitis and routine checkup (3monthly visit);
- Dental cleaning (scaling and polishing) is necessary.
Bacteria (accumulated in plaques) from a mother’s mouth can be transmitted through the blood and amniotic fluid in the womb to her unborn child. This could contribute to the risk of a premature delivery, a low birth-weight baby, premature onset of contractions, or infection of the newborn child.
There is sufficient evidence that the lack of oral health care during pregnancy can have negative outcomes for both mothers and their newborns. Oral health needs should thus be emphasized in ante natal patients.