Most of the women during pregnancy, experience a wide range of symptoms that they have never had before. Presence of swollen, red, tender gums that bleed when flossed or brushed are one common condition.
It is often surprising to see a bit of blood on your toothbrush, but it is a common occurrence during pregnancy.
It becomes a crucial responsibility of the mother to maintain proper oral care during pregnancy as it has an immediate impact on the baby’s health.
Bleeding gums during pregnancy is not a reason to worry about, but it is also not wise to ignore it entirely as it may lead to further complications.
You should take essential steps to get the problem under control for your comfort and peace of mind. Let’s address this common oral health problem in detail and take precautions to make it less complicated.
Why do gums bleed during pregnancy?
Bleeding of gums is a common symptom of gingivitis. When gingivitis occurs during pregnancy, the condition is termed as pregnancy gingivitis.
In this condition, the gums become inflamed due to changes in the hormone level of the female caused by pregnancy. The inflammation makes the female more susceptible to the formation of plaque and accumulation of bacteria in the plaque.
Pregnancy gingivitis makes the gum inflamed, swollen and prone to bleeding while brushing and flossing your teeth.
What causes bleeding of gums?
Change in hormones
The slightest change in the hormonal level may leave your mouth more vulnerable to plaque and bacteria which causes tender gums during pregnancy. If left undiagnosed they can further cause gingivitis and tooth decay.
Changes in oral tissue and eating habits
Less production of saliva during pregnancy and a habit of eating sweet food and carbs creates a bacteria-friendly oral environment that helps in the formation of plaque and cavities.
Morning sickness refers to nausea and vomiting which are the common symptoms of pregnancy. In case of vomiting during pregnancy, you can have temporary effects of the residual acid that remains in the mouth as a result of regurgitation.
The acidic components if not rinsed out, becomes a home for the bacteria gradually forming plaque around the teeth and affecting the gums.
Gingivitis is a mild type of gum disease which commonly occurs during pregnancy, but if left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, which increases the risk of preeclampsia, premature birth or low birth weight.
Good oral care before, during and after pregnancy will help to prevent all the oral problems and also keep the baby as healthy as possible during gestation and after delivery.
When can you expect bleeding of gums to end?
It usually happens after delivery. While pregnancy poses some risk to the mouth, if the gums have been maintained well before pregnancy, they’re likely to stay good even after.
There is no significant statistical difference in the prevalence of gingivitis or cavities in pregnant and non-pregnant women.
What should you do?
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is the best way to prevent gingivitis.
Get a dental check-up
Visit your dentist once during pregnancy, be sure to inform them that you’re pregnant. They will help you throughout and advice you to give you the best care you need. Avoid X-rays and postpone any work that will require anesthesia.
Brush twice a day and floss on a regular basis. Use a soft bristled brush. You can use either a manual or an electric toothbrush, but be gentle. Rigorous brushing makes your gums tender, sensitive and prone to bleeding.
Brush your tongue
Brushing your tongue also helps minimize the number of bacteria in your mouth.
Ask your dentist to recommend a non-alcoholic “therapeutic” mouthwash. Rinse daily to reduce bacteria and plaque in your mouth between brushings.
Remember to rinse your mouth
After morning sickness during pregnancy, make sure to brush or at least clean your teeth and mouth. It’ll help you get rid of the gross taste in your mouth as well as remove the acid and bacteria that comes in the mouth while vomiting.
Include vitamin C in your diet, which can strengthen the gums. Check your daily calcium requirement make your teeth (and your bones) strong.
Skip eating food that is rich in carbohydrate like sweets. Instead, try to eat nutrient- and fiber-rich whole fruit if possible. Include protein-packed nuts in your diet plan.
When should I call my dentist about bleeding gums during pregnancy?
See your dentist regularly during your pregnancy. If you notice bleeding on brushing or on spitting, consult a dentist. The dentist will probably schedule an appointment to rule out a severe problem.
- Tooth pain
- Pain in the gums that bleeds
- Growths or lumps in your mouth, even if they’re not painful
Take away message
Pregnancy affects every aspect of a woman’s life, especially her oral health. Taking good care of the gums and teeth is vital during pregnancy.
Some of the oral conditions to look out for include bleeding gums, dry mouth and morning sickness. If you notice any of the mentioned conditions, consult your dentist right away.
Make sure to get enough vitamin C and calcium, which are nutrients that are significant in maintaining the health of teeth and gums.
Most importantly stay updated with the oral health care regime and take necessary precautions.
A study done to check oral health awareness among pregnant women revealed that only one out of every four women was informed about the importance of regular dental check-ups. (1)