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Bleeding gums during pregnancy: is it normal?

Congratulations, you're pregnant! During your pregnancy it is normal for your body and hormones to change and adapt to the growing baby in your belly. Many women are surprised to see bleeding gums. Although it may be concerning at first, bleeding gums during pregnancy is common and reversible. However, it's important to maintaining good oral throughout your pregnancy for both you and your baby.

Why Do Your Gums Bleed? Hormone changes during your pregnancy are the main cause of oral health issues. Higher progesterone levels make you more susceptible to gingivitis, a mild and reversible form of gum disease. It is caused by bacteria accumulate around your gumline and turned into plaque (a soft, sticky, colorless film). Pregnancy gingivitis can leave your gums tender and swollen, which is why they often bleed when you brush and floss.

What Complications Can Arise ? Accoding to the American dental Association, nearly half of adults over 30 in the US have some form of gum disease. Left untreated, gingivitis (reversible) can develop into periodontitis (irreversible). Periodontal disease in pregnant women is a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes such as:

  • Preterm birth

  • Fetal growth restriction

  • Low birth weight

  • Pre‐eclampsia

  • And gestational diabetes

To avoid serious health concerns, you must maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly especially during your pregnancy.

How to Treat Bleeding Gums? Proper oral care before, during, and after your pregnancy will help prevent many issues.

  • Brush twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush.

  • Brush your tongue with a tongue scarper.

  • Floss in between your teeth.

  • Use an antimicrobial alcohol free mouth rinse.

  • Visit your dental professional.

It is important to advise your dentist of your pregnancy. They will discuss the best treatment options tailored specifically to your needs. Although bleeding gums is the most common side effect of the hormone changes occurring during this time, it is not unusual to see other conditions such as a pregnancy tumor (pyogenic granuloma) develop on your gums. This will be associated with significant bleeding during brushing and flossing and we recommend to see your dentist.

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