Is it normal to have bleeding gums during pregnancy?
Half of mums-to-be have swollen, red, tender gums that bleed when brushed or flossed. The cause of this is a mild form of gum disease known as pregnancy gingivitis. Your gums are likely to become reddened because of hormonal changes that make them more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque.
A benign nodule develops on the gums that bleeds when you brush. This fairly rare nodule is called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma. Do not worry, these are just scary names for something that is harmless and usually painless. Pregnancy tumors can actually develop anywhere on your body during pregnancy, but they show up most often in the mouth.
A pregnancy tumor can grow up to three-quarters of an inch in size and is more likely to emerge in an area where you have gingivitis. Normally, it disappears after you have your baby, but if it does not, you will have to get it removed. If it causes uneasiness and interferes with chewing or brushing, or starts to bleed excessively, you can ask get it removed while you’re pregnant.
Can pregnancy gingivitis affect my pregnancy?
This is a very mild form of gum disease, therefore, it is very unlikely that it causes you any harm. Especially if you practice good dental hygiene. You must have heard that gum disease can result in preterm labor. But that is only a potential risk for women with severe gum disease.
Many studies suggest that there is a link between severe gum disease, preterm birth and low birth weight. And some researches also show an association with preeclampsia. However, there are other set of studies which show no relationship between gum disease and these serious complications.
How to take care of teeth and gums during pregnancy?
- Brush thoroughly but gently at least twice a day, using a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste with fluoride.
- Consider using a fluoridated, alcohol-free mouth wash each day.
- Floss daily.
- Get regular preventive dental care. Your dentist or periodontist can remove plaque and tartar that brushing cannot remove. If you have not visited your dentist recently, schedule a visit now for a thorough cleaning and check-up. Make sure you tell the dentist that you are pregnant. Do not put off getting treatment for dental problems.
When should I call the dentist?
Along with the regular check-ups, schedule a dental appointment right away if you have any of the following:
- Bleeding gums during pregnancy that are painful
- A toothache
- Other signs of gum disease, like swollen, tender gums; persistent bad breath; receding gums; or loosening teeth
- Growths in your mouth, even if they’re not painful or causing any other symptoms