August 2, 2022
Pregnancy is a reason to rejoice and look towards the future with the happiness and excitement that a newborn can add to your life. Bleeding gums in pregnancy are called pregnancy gingivitis.
But most of the time amid all the excitement, also come new symptoms, probably never experienced before like Swollen, Tender & Bleeding Gums.
Noticing blood on the gums can be troubling for the pregnant woman who already has much on her hands.
However, this should not be a reason for much worry. Right care and precautions can easily help to control them for a relaxed pregnancy ahead.
Why Do Gums Bleed During Pregnancy?
The pregnancy hormones that cause the mucus membranes to swell and the sinuses to clog up also inflame the gums from around Week 15th of the pregnancy, making them more prone to bleeding.
The various reasons behind the swollen gums and sore mouth during pregnancy are:
Pregnancy brings along with it many Hormonal changes which can make one vulnerable to oral health problems.
Large amounts of a hormone called progesterone are released during pregnancy, increasing blood flow to all mucous membranes and making the mouth more susceptible to bacteria, putting one at a higher risk of Gingivitis.
The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is usually caused by bacteria build-up, that turns into plaque, around the gum line.
Pregnancy gingivitis can make gums tender and swollen, causing them to bleed while brushing.
Pregnancy brings along with it a tendency to crave and eat more carbs, sweets, and fast foods, drifting towards unhealthy food choices due to changes in taste experienced by women creating an oral environment for plaque and tartar to thrive upon.
Moreover, as saliva production decreases during the pregnancy due to the hormone surge, the carbs eaten hang around on the surfaces of the teeth for a longer period.
This subsequently leads to a buildup of plaque, soft and sticky stuff that builds up on the teeth. It’s full of bacteria and causes tooth decay and gum disease.
Changes in Saliva
Pregnancy not only leads to the production of less saliva, but the saliva in pregnant women is also more acidic than that of a non-pregnant woman.
This decreases its efficiency as a buffer and also raises the risk of tooth erosion and decay.
A small lump or nodule that bleeds on brushing may develop on gums, in the area where one has gingivitis.
This lump is called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma and is very rare and usually painless & harmless despite its scary name.
These tumors can pop up anywhere in the body during pregnancy, but most often they show in the mouth and generally disappear after childbirth.
However, sometimes it does not go away on its own and needs to be surgically removed. One can also have it even removed in pregnancy if it’s uncomfortable, inhibits chewing or brushing, or starts to bleed too much.
Some women tend to avoid brushing their teeth twice a day because they develop an aversion to the smell of toothpaste or due to morning sickness and nausea.
The lack of oral hygiene can also lead to the building up of bacteria in the mouth leading to bleeding gums and tooth decay.
Delayed Reaction To Morning Sickness
The early stage of pregnancy can bring with it morning sickness and vomiting. The temporary effects of those acid baths are borne by the teeth, weakening the enamel and causing decay during the later stage of pregnancy.
What Complications Can Arise from Pregnancy Gingivitis?
Bleeding gums or Gingivitis in pregnancy is absolutely normal and not a reason to panic. However, If left untreated, Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a severe condition of gums that can result in teeth loosening and falling out.
So it is very important to see an experienced dental specialist like Dr. Sheena Gaur at Kirkland Premier Dentistry in the first trimester itself.
Periodontal diseases in pregnant women are sometimes known to increase the risk of Preterm birth, impeded Foetal growth, Low birth weight, Pre‐eclampsia and Gestational diabetes.
Dr. Sheena Gaur explains that this is the reason that Practicing good oral hygiene and a regular visit to the dentist is advised throughout the pregnancy as it can help minimize the effects of pregnancy gingivitis.
How to Reduce Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy?
There is no need to stress too much about bleeding gums in pregnancy. However, a few simple steps can go a long way to help with pregnancy gingivitis:
Make sure to observe good oral hygiene practices throughout the pregnancy. Brushing and flossing twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush, cleaning the tongue with a tongue scraper and using an antimicrobial rinse can help keep the mouth free from harmful bacteria.
Visit the dentist at least once in the first trimester to find out the best way to effectively monitor oral health and catch developing signs of gum disease early.
The dentist can also guide you about keeping the bleeding to a minimum, at the same time ensuring that the bleeding is not due to a more serious condition.
Many treatments like antibiotics and prescription-strength mouthwashes targeting gum disease can be prescribed by the dentist. These can help fight pregnancy gingivitis.
The oral healthcare, X-rays, antibiotics and mouthwashes advised by the dentist are generally very safe in pregnancy and do not affect the health of the growing baby.
However, it is important to consult a competent and qualified person to ensure your as well as your baby’s safety.
Vitamin C can strengthen gums and help to keep them healthy & at the same time boost your immunity. Make sure to get plenty of it from your diet.
Additionally, make sure to fulfill your calcium requirement every day as the calcium can go a long way in keeping the teeth and bones strong.
Though the food craving can be highest in pregnancy, one must avoid too many sugary foods when possible.
Avoid the chewy kind of sweets, particularly when you are aware that brushing your teeth soon after indulging is not possible. Try to eat fiber-rich whole fruit if possible to satisfy the cravings.
When Should I Call My Dentist About Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy?
Besides being regular with the routine checkups, one must call the dentist right away if one has:
- A persistent toothache.
- Painful gums that bleed often.
- Any other signs of gum disease, like swollen or tender gums, receding gums, chronic bad breath, or loose teeth.
- Growths in the mouth, even if not painful or causing any other symptoms.
- Numbness in the mouth.
Last but not the least, do not panic. Pregnancy Gingivitis is fairly common and will most probably go away after the delivery, on its own.
Just remember to maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist for dental problems that arise. Do not use pregnancy as an excuse to let your oral health slide.
Taking extra good care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy will ensure that both stay strong and healthy for a long time.
Contact Dr. Sheena Gaur at Kirkland Premier Dentistry for a detailed consultation. With an experience of many years behind her, she has been providing Mothers-to-be with a dazzling and healthy smile throughout the pregnancy!