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First things first, experiencing bleeding gums during pregnancy is absolutely normal which is also known as pregnancy gingivitis. These bleeding gums are caused due to hormonal changes occurring in the body, especially seen in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
While this won’t necessarily affect the little human growing inside you, it is still important for you to check with a dentist. Why? Practising good and healthy oral hygiene during pregnancy is best to limit the effects that could be caused due to the pregnancy gingivitis.
Is Bleeding Gums Normal During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is!
As also mentioned in the introduction, experiencing bleeding gums during pregnancy is quite normal and there are about 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women who have red, swollen, tender bleeding gums when brushed or flossed.
This pregnancy gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease which is partly caused due to the effects of hormonal changes which make the gums rather sensitive to the bacteria in plaque. Essentially, results due to the levels of oestrogen and progesterone that are incredibly high during pregnancy which make the blood flow increase to the mucous membranes, leading to sensitivity.
In some cases, there are people who develop small lumps or nodules on their gums that cause bleeding when brushed. This is a relatively rare lump that is also called a pyogenic granuloma or a pregnancy tumour, an alarming name for something which is harmless and painless. These can normally pop up anywhere on the body during pregnancy, but are mostly seen to pop in the mouth.
This pregnancy tumor has the capability to grow to up to three-quarters an inch, that is, more likely to appear in the area of gingivitis and disappears after the delivery of the baby. However, if it doesn’t as it normally should, one might need to have it removed. On the contrary, if it is uncomfortable, starts to bleed, or interferes with brushing or chewing, you can have it removed even during pregnancy.
Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy - What Causes Bleeding Gums?
When you go visit a dentist, they might give you a diagnosis of pregnancy gingivitis if there is any complaint about bleeding gums. Although it’s a mild form of gum disease, it is best to cure it at once and not wait until it grows and becomes a cause of concern during pregnancy. Listed below are some of the causes that you might want to keep an eye on:
- Hormones – This is the most common cause of bleeding gums during pregnancy that you could blame your sensitive and swollen gums on. These hormones include oestrogen and progesterone streaming through the blood and also increases the flow of blood to the mucous membranes
- Dietary changes – Another reason for swollen and bleeding gums can be the change in your diet. With pregnancy comes high intake of food that includes carbs, fast foods, and sweets – all a could-be reason for fast foods
- Unhealthy food choices – If you happen to have an unhealthy choice of food during pregnancy, you might experience a change in taste and also bleeding gums
- Decreased production of saliva – As simple as the maths can get, pregnancy equals high levels of hormones and for others less saliva production. This less production of saliva could mean that the carbs consumed stick to the surface of the teeth for longer periods that potentially lead to a buildup of plaque
- Change in saliva – During pregnancy, not only is there less production of saliva but it is also more acidic when compared to non-pregnant women. That is it is not efficient as it used to be as these acids can raise the risk of decay and tooth erosion
- Toothpaste aversion – The preferences in food isn’t the only thing you’d experience. If you’re avoiding the healthy routines for your oral health like brushing twice a day only because you can’t stand the smell of your toothpaste, the you must try to switch the brand and use a milder flavor instead
- Morning sickness – If you are still experiencing morning sickness, you must make sure to rinse your mouth after to help wash away the acid from your stomach and brush after an hour as the acid softened the enamel on your teeth. As an alternative, you can also use plain water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to rinse your mouth.
Home Remedies For Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy
Listed below are a few home remedies for bleeding gums during pregnancy:
- Make sure to daily salt rinse your mouth to keep the gum inflammation at bay. This means a solution of 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water. Or, maybe just go for a swim in the sea instead – seawater is a natural saline wash to help soothe the gums and relieve stuffiness
- You could use a paste of baking soda with water to help remove the plaque
- Use baking soda to neutralize any kind of harmful acids that might be present in your teeth if you have sickness
Sore and Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy: Do Gingivitis Affect a Developing Baby?
Simply put – no! Nor does it affect your health, especially if oral measures are taken into consideration and good dental hygiene is followed.
You might have heard of bleeding gum disease as a potential risk of preterm birth which is the only risk for pregnant women with severe gum disease/infection. Adding to this, there are some studies that also suggest a link between preterm birth and severe gum disease, low birth weight, and also preeclampsia, there are others studies too that show no relationship between gum disease and at times serious complications.
Therefore, given the conflicting availability of studies, it is always best to check with your healthcare provider to avoid any fears about dental hygiene and its possible effects on the unborn baby.
How Can I Stop My Gums From Bleeding During Pregnancy? - When Does It Start?
In normal conditions, you might experience bleeding gums during the third trimester, this is when the oestrogen and progesterone levels are at peak. However, the gums would start to become tender in the second trimester – all thanks to the super-moody hormonal changes. In some cases this could also be an early indicator of pregnancy.
How To Stop Gum Bleeding During Pregnancy?
The answer to the most asked question – how to stop gum bleeding during pregnancy? is as simple as starting off with a healthy oral hygiene, such as:
- Make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly and gently, twice a day (best after each meal, if possible)
- Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush and a toothpaste with fluoride. There are also other companies who create special antigingivitis toothpaste which could prevent the symptoms
- Floss daily
- Try and make sure to consider using alcohol-free, fluoridated mouth rinse
- Stick to limited intake of sugar consumption as it can increase plaque formation and bacteria in the mouth
In addition to the above said pointers, try to also make sure to visit a dentist regularly for preventive measures. A dentist or the periodontist can remove the tartar and plaque that brushing cannot.
For those who do not see a dentist on a regular basis, make it a point to schedule an appointment for a thorough checkup and cleaning. Also, it’s best to let your dentist be aware of the fact that you’re pregnant and how far along you are.
An ideal situation is to see your dentist on a regular basis even during your pregnancy, at least once a trimester.
How To Prevent Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy? - When To Call The Doctor
In addition to the regular checkups, make sure to call your dentist immediately if you experience:
- A toothache
- Frequent painful bleeding gums
- Any other signs of gum disease such as tender or swollen gums, loosening teeth, receding gums, or persistent bad breath
- If you come across any kind of growths in your mouth, even if they do not pain or cause any other symptoms
- If at any given point you experience numbness in the mouth
Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy - How Is The Pregnancy Gingivitis Treated?
When you visit a dentist, they might prescribe you a number of treatments to fight the pregnancy gingivitis, this includes prescription-strength mouthwashes and antibiotics that target the gum disease.
You could also opt for a surgery as an alternative, however, it is usually reserved for serious cases.
Antibiotics and mouthwashes are usually very safe for expecting women with no studies suggesting any effects on the health of the growing baby. Just keep in mind that the dentist is aware of you expecting and how long you are, and/or anything you’re allergic to.
In addition to the above said remedies, home remedies are inexpensive and safe that you can try, this includes oil pulling that is swishing small amounts of oil (coconut oil) in the mouth for about 10 minutes everyday or salt rinses, that is swishing daily using a solution of warm water, baking soda, and salt.
There are studies that show them as effective remedies to reduce plaque and signs of gum inflammation. Nevertheless, you must always check with the doctor before you try any new home treatments when pregnant.