Probably the last thing on the mind of an expectant mother is gum disease. However, the truth is that pregnancy can have a significant effect on the gums. Most commonly, pregnancy can cause “pregnancy gingivitis”. Pregnancy gingivitis is exhibited through red, swollen, tender and bleeding gum tissues.

In some instances, this irritation can actually lead to what is called “pregnancy tumors”. Fortunately, they are benign and painless and they usually go away after completion of the pregnancy. Occasionally, they do not go away and have to be removed by a periodontist. The best way to avoid pregnancy gingivitis is to visit your dentist if you are thinking about getting pregnant, or if you do become pregnant

Your periodontal health can affect the pregnancy and ultimately the health of your baby. Mothers that exhibit gum disease during the pregnancy may be twice as likely to develop preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure with the presence of protein in the urine. Studies have also shown that periodontal disease can lead to premature birth or low birth weight babies. Both prevention and treatment of periodontal disease can reduce these risks.

If you are considering pregnancy, it is a good idea to talk to your dentist or periodontist. A periodontal evaluation can be a smart part of your prenatal care!