Last week I was diagnosed with gingivitis. Believe me, this was a shock. I have always taken care of my teeth. Brush, floss, mouthwash, even rinsing after I have acidic foods, but my teeth have been aching for about a month. I thought it might be allergies that may be causing the pain in my teeth. I went to my allergist and she said she couldn’t see any fluid in my ears and that she didn’t think it was allergies.
I had an appointment with my dentist for the following Monday. I let him know my symptoms. My teeth hurt on both sides, top and bottom just randomly throughout the day. When I say hurt, they just ached. The pain had no rhyme or reason and would happen randomly. The pain was starting to cause me headaches and really affecting my day. I explained my symptoms to my dentist and he said that a 3D X-ray should give us a good idea of what was going on. After the x-ray’s were completed, he stated that his diagnosis was confirmed of what he thought it could be from my symptoms.
Pregnancy induced gingivitis.
Uh-what? I had heard of this, but I told him that I was so diligent with my teeth during pregnancy that I took care of them even more than I usually did. I flossed everyday without fail. He said that unfortunately, with pregnancy induced gingivitis, it isn’t hygiene related. It is the baby taking the collagen and cartilage during utero. He described that since babies take everything they need to grow and will take it from the mother, it can cause havoc on our teeth and gums. Some mothers experience more cavities and others, like me; gum disease.
Luckily, my case is reversible with a good cleaning, but if you let it go too long, it can turn into periodontal gingivitis which is bacteria that gets into the bone of your jaw, and unfortunately, that is irreversible.
I did not go see the dentist while I was pregnant, and I hadn’t seen the dentist since my daughter was born because I just didn’t have the time as a new mom. But to be honest, I didn’t have a desire to go back to the dentist because I had a bad taste in my mouth from my last appointment.
The dental hygienist wanted me to get an X-ray, which is understandable, but we were trying to conceive, and I wasn’t about to take any chance and have an X-ray. She was so pushy and not very nice because I refused. She told me it wasn’t a big deal and it is minimal radiation. She would not drop it and I felt very bullied. I told her I was not going to have an x-ray under any circumstance because I may be pregnant and I wasn’t going to take the chance. I did not want to go to the dentist again while pregnant and have any type of confrontation again. I only went back to that dentistry because of the dentist.
It is super important that you make sure that you don’t have gingivitis while you are pregnant which can easily happen to any woman. When the infected and swollen gums harbor the disease that causes the bacteria, it can release toxins that can attack ligaments, gums and the bones surrounding your teeth. This creates infected pockets in the oral cavity. The pockets can provide access to your bloodstream and can actually travel down to the uterus.
This can trigger the body to produce prostaglandins, which is a natural fatty acid that normally controls inflammation and smooth muscle contraction. When a woman is pregnant, her level of prostaglandins increases, and peaks when she goes into labor. It is possible that if extra prostaglandins are produced when the body is reacting to infected gums, a pregnant woman’s body may think it is a signal to go into labor sooner than expected, thus causing a baby to be born too early.
I should have gone to the dentist earlier so my gingivitis could be cleaned up and not caused me pain, but now I have learned my lesson. Here are some things you can do if you’re pregnant or just had a baby to avoid what I’m going through:
Visit the dentist: It is important that you have an open discussion with your dentist that you are planning on getting pregnant or that you are already pregnant and come up with a plan of health. You should plan on 2 – 3 visits to your dentist for a good cleaning while you are pregnant.
Oral hygiene: Obviously it is important to brush and floss your teeth everyday and if you eat something sugary, you should rinse your mouth with water or even better, brush.
Eat healthy: This is a good tip for your pregnancy, but it is also important to not have too many sugary snacks if possible. I know that can be difficult.
Dental work: Try to get those dental treatments done before pregnancy. Some are okay during pregnancy, but get those treatments done before, and all you have to worry about is cleanings during your pregnancy.
Don’t share food: Sharing food and drinks can actually transmit bacteria.
Taking the appropriate steps before, during and after your pregnancy can help you to avoid pregnancy induced gingivitis like myself or pregnancy induced cavities.
Are you thinking about conceiving soon? Check out how flossing can also affect your fertility.