Charge Up for Good Health

Iím pregnant and my mouth is tender and sore. Should I be worried?

Iím pregnant and my mouth is tender and sore. Should I be worried?

Don’t worry, you likely have pregnancy gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that affects 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women. The cause is thought to be extra circulating hormones, which lead to fluid retention and therefore puffy gums. Plus, pregnant women have weaker immune systems, so they’re more prone to illness, including gum disease.

But do get to the dentist soon: Researchers have discovered that unchecked gum disease puts women at an increased risk for preterm labor. “It’s a myth that you can’t have dental treatment during pregnancy,” says Dr. Rob Berg, chair of applied dentistry at the University of Colorado in Denver. “In fact, it may be even more important when you’re pregnant to have a healthy mouth.”

Many dental plans -- including Cigna, Delta, United Concordia and Health Net -- cover an extra checkup and cleaning during pregnancy, usually in the second or third trimester. Your dentist will do a thorough cleaning and determine whether you need additional treatment.