Forty percent of pregnant women develop gum disease while they are pregnant. Generally, pregnancy gingivitis is caused by the high level of progesterone pregnant women produce, and it can become worse if you eat too many carbohydrates and sugars, forget to brush or floss, or have extreme morning sickness. The good news is that there are many safe ways to treat gum disease, even while you are pregnant.
Brushing and Flossing
The easiest way to prevent gum disease and to treat mild gum disease is through consistent brushing, flossing, and rinsing with proper technique. When you become pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss the best mouthwash and toothpaste to use throughout your pregnancy.
While you are at your pregnancy dental screening, you should take the time to get x-rays and have your hygienist evaluate your brushing technique. This will help you catch any problems early enough for topical medication and daily rinses to help. Depending on the health of your gums at the beginning of your pregnancy, your dentist may suggest multiple professional cleanings during your pregnancy.
Deep Cleaning and Medication
Many women are afraid to get professional dental care during their pregnancy because they fear that x-rays an anesthetics can harm their unborn baby. Contrary to this popular belief, most obstetricians and dentists agree it is better for you to get necessary dental treatment during pregnancy rather than wait until you give birth. In fact, it has been shown that if you have periodontal disease during the pregnancy, deep cleaning, known as scaling an root planing, can reduce your risk of having a preterm birth.
It is important that you let your dentist know you are pregnant before you receive local anesthetic for a scaling procedure. This information may cause them to slightly alter their method of injection and amount of anesthetic.
Oil Pulling With Herbal Antibiotics
Oil pulling has not been proven to reduce gum disease, but many people believe it can. If you select an oil with antibacterial properties, such as coconut oil, and add a few drops of an astringent essential oil, such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus, you will reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which can slow the effects of gum disease.
If you choose to use oil pulling or any other herbal remedy it is important that you are consistent. Oil pulling should be done once or twice a day for at least ten minutes to be effective. You should also consult with your dentist to make sure that you have caught your gum disease early enough for oil pulling to be effective without other interventions.
One common way to treat advanced gum disease is with oral antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic is doxycycline, which is considered a schedule D drug and has been shown to not be safe during pregnancy. However, many types of antibiotics are considered safe during pregnancy.
Depending on your dentist's experience with pregnant women, he or she may be hesitant to prescribe you any antibiotics. If this is the case, you may want to ask your obstetrician to create a short list of antibiotics that are considered safe for your stage of pregnancy. Your dentist can then select the proper regime of antibiotics from this list.
If your gums begin to bleed when you are brushing or flossing, or if your teeth become sensitive to hot or cold beverages, it is likely that you already have a mild form of gum disease. It is important to ask your dentist how you can stop the disease from progressing, especially if you are pregnant. If you want to learn more about your treatment options for gum disease, find out here.