Bleeding gums is by no means a pleasant experience, but if you’re pregnant or planning on having a baby, then you should be aware that nearly half of all women will suffer from gum disease during pregnancy. The main reason for this is that hormonal changes leave your gums more susceptible to inflammation, and this can result in gum disease like gingivitis, which causes bleeding gums.
Pregnancy, Hormones, and Gingivitis
When you become pregnant, a number of hormonal changes happen to get your body ready to carry a baby. These changes can cause your gums to swell, and this makes it more likely that bacteria present in the plaque that forms on the teeth will irritate your gums. This response is called gingivitis, and it is characterized by swelling, bleeding gums, and tenderness. If left unchecked, gum diseases can also cause loose teeth, tooth loss, receding gums, bad breath, and more.
Potential Complications: Periodontitis and Your Baby
Although gingivitis can have serious side effects if you do not treat it properly, it isn’t generally a major threat to your health. However, gingivitis can lead to a more severe gum disease called periodontitis, and there may be a link between this and low birth weight and premature birth.
What to Do if Your Gums Start Bleeding
If your gums start bleeding while you’re pregnant, don’t panic! When you have gingivitis, your gums could bleed because of eating, flossing, or brushing. But because of the potential complications and discomfort associated with gum disease, consult the dentists if you’re pregnant and experiencing swollen or bleeding gums.
Preventing and Treating Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy
Aside from pregnancy, the main cause of gingivitis is lax oral hygiene. The best way to treat and prevent gum disease, therefore, is by being meticulous with your dental health, especially while you’re pregnant. Here are the main principles of good oral hygiene:
- Brush twice daily
- Brush for at least two minutes
- Brush with a soft-bristled brush
- Use fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss once a day
- Change up your toothbrush every three to four months
- Visit the dentist twice a year
- Rinse your mouth after eating acidic or sugary food
- Avoid excess sugar, which nourishes bacteria
Pregnancy is both exciting and scary, especially if this is your first baby. But there are a lot of things that people don’t tell you about being pregnant, and one of them is that there’s a good chance you’ll experience inflamed and bleeding gums throughout and especially during the second trimester. Getting gingivitis while pregnant is common, and it’s not necessarily a sign that you’ve been neglecting your oral hygiene. However, the best treatment for gingivitis is careful dental habits, so make sure you brush and floss regularly and go to your dentist at least once throughout your pregnancy. You can also reduce your risk of developing gingivitis by getting your teeth professionally cleaned before getting pregnant, so keep that in mind if you’re currently trying to have a baby.