If you’re a mother-to-be, you may have noticed that your gums are red, swollen or worse, they’ve started bleeding. The good news is that about half of all pregnant women will experience this during their pregnancy. Bleeding gums during pregnancy is actually called pregnancy gingivitis.
But let’s take a closer look at what is occurring, and how you can treat you’re bleeding gums.
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What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?
Your bleeding gums are a form of gingivitis, and it’s just like the normal gingivitis that men and women develop. The difference is that you’re pregnant, so your body is going through a rollercoaster of hormonal changes that will cause your body to do strange things.
This is a mild form of gum disease that is caused by hormonal changes.
As your hormones begin to change, you’ll notice that your gums are getting inflamed. Why? Your gums are becoming more sensitive to the natural bacteria in your mouth. It’s rather common, and it’s really nothing to be too worried about. In fact, discuss this with your doctor to put your mind at ease.
Progesterone levels in the body will increase when pregnant, and this allows the bacteria that causes gingivitis to grow.
If you have plaque, the toxins in the body will be exaggerated. This will cause the body’s natural response to the plaque to be exaggerated. Anyone that already has dental issues will need to pay special attention to their oral health as it will get worse, naturally, during pregnancy.
There is the possibility that the bleeding is being caused by benign nodules. While rare, these nodules are called “pregnancy tumors.” These small tumors can show up on any part of your body, but they typically present in the mouth.
Small in size, these tumors are only about three-quarters of an inch.
If you have gingivitis, these tumors are more likely to present themselves where the gingivitis has formed. The good news is that you won’t need to worry about these tumors. In the vast majority of cases, these small tumors will disappear following birth. But if the tumors continue to linger, you’ll need to have them removed.
You can also choose to have the tumor removed if it becomes very painful and causes issues when eating, talking or brushing.
Signs of Pregnancy Gingivitis
When you have gingivitis while pregnant, there are a variety of signs that you can look for before visiting your dentist:
- Gum reddening.
- Bleeding gums when brushing.
- Swelling of the gums.
- Bleeding gum tissue (severe).
It’s not uncommon to have severely swollen gums during pregnancy either. All of these symptoms are not a major cause for concern, but you can visit your dentist to discuss your options with a professional.
Pregnancy tumors will have the same bleeding symptoms, but these tumors can also exhibit red markings on the inflamed gum. A red lump that may crust over and bleed is likely a pregnancy tumor. Most women will get these tumors during their second trimester, but they can present themselves earlier or later.
Premature Birth Studies
Studies have been performed that link premature birth with gum disease. The Journal of the American Dental Association found that women who have chronic gum disease are far more likely to have a premature birth. In fact, a woman that has gum disease (chronic) will:
- Be 4 – 7 times more likely to deliver before week 37.
- Give birth to babies that are underweight.
The startling fact that the study points to is that women with severe periodontal disease are likely to go into labor well before their due date. Many of these women went into labor and delivered at 32 weeks into their pregnancy.
Vital data is missing from all of these studies. The data does not determine if the risk of a premature birth was lessened following treatment for gum disease.
If you’re already at a high-risk for delivering early, it may be a good idea to contact your dentist and discuss ways to prevent gum disease.
A proper dental routine can help you overcome gum disease, bleeding gums and other dental-related issues.
3 Ways to Stop Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy
Your gums are bleeding, you have a nasty taste in your mouth, and you just want it to stop. The good news is that you can stop the bleeding and do your best to rid yourself of bacteria growth. Remember, there is only so much you can do, as progesterone levels need to be high during pregnancy.
But basic dental hygiene practices can alleviate many of your symptoms.
1. Brush 2 Times a Day
You need to brush your teeth more. Period. The general rule of thumb is that you need to brush your teeth at least twice per day, but it’s recommend that you brush three times for best results.
- You finish breakfast.
- You finish lunch.
- Before bed.
Many people brush after dinner, and then they drink coffee or soda. All of that sugar remains on the teeth all night long, causing issues. If you brush, make sure you do it before you jump into bed at night.
And you need to brush properly:
- Set a timer for 2 minutes.
- Brush each quadrant (back left and back right; front left and front right) for 30 seconds each.
If you follow this routine, you’ll be well on your way to better oral health.
2. Floss Daily
Flossing can be done after every meal, but it must be done at least twice a day. The only tip here is to make sure that you get between each tooth and to not hit the gums, which can cause further bleeding.
If you don’t like flossing (not many people do), you can use a water flosser, which is more gentle and does a fantastic job at removing particles in between your teeth.
3. Antimicrobial Mouthwash
Bacteria is the enemy attacking your mouth during pregnancy. If you’re suffering from gingivitis, you want to eliminate all of this bad bacteria. How can you do this? Use antimicrobial mouthwash.
When using this mouthwash, you’ll be killing any bacteria that is present in your mouth.
It’s recommenced that you use mouthwash twice per day for best results. If you follow all three of these tips, you’ll know that you did everything you could to stop pregnancy gingivitis from developing.