Swollen belly, swollen feet, and now–swollen gums? Pregnancy has many unexpected effects on the body, some of them amusing and others just downright unpleasant. But many people don’t even think about the ways that an impending little one can impact our teeth and gums. A change in gum health is common during pregnancy. Bleeding gums is a good indicator that some adjustments and improvements need to be addressed to continue taking care of our teeth and gums.
Sore Gums In Early Pregnancy Are Common
Bleeding gums during the second trimester of pregnancy are very common. Swollen gums can even be an early sign of pregnancy. Like so many effects of childbearing, the reason why comes down to hormones. Your body’s changing hormones cause mucous membranes to swell, creating side effects like sinus congestion, nosebleeds, and, yes, bleeding gums. These same hormonal changes also make your gums more vulnerable to plaque.
A few other causes of bleeding gums during pregnancy have to do with lifestyle changes. Maybe you’re indulging in cravings, eating more sweet or salty foods than you usually would. Some pregnant women even experience an aversion to dental products due to an increased sensitivity to taste. Whether your food choices have been harder on your teeth or you’ve been brushing and flossing less frequently than you used to, your gums will let you know there’s a problem.
You’ll likely experience swollen and bleeding gums until the third trimester of your pregnancy. Without some extra tender loving care (emphasis on the tender), you may experience pregnancy gingivitis. Proper care helps manage bleeding gums during pregnancy to keep discomfort to a minimum and reduce the chance of longer-term effects.
Treatment of Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy
The first step to treating your sensitive gums is to visit your dentist. At least one dental checkup during your pregnancy is a great way to ensure your mouth stays healthy. A dentist will make sure you’re not at risk of pregnancy gingivitis and give you some personalized suggestions on coping with sore gums or an aversion to dental products.
No matter what, it’s extra important to brush and floss twice a day during pregnancy. Just remember to take it easy! Your gums deserve a little extra delicacy as they adjust to your body’s changes. Use a soft-bristle brush, and don’t be too aggressive. It may be hard to avoid the cravings, but sticking to tooth-friendly foods during pregnancy positively impacts your dental health. One quick fix for pregnant folks who can’t stand the taste of toothpaste: try kids’ fruit-flavored options, or even baking soda. You should also make sure to only rinse with water, fluoride mouthrinse or a mixture of baking soda and water. If you experience morning sickness, to neutralize that unpleasant dose of acid that can irritate your gum. Avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after morning sickness as the stomach acid can soften enamel and brushing will scratch and damage the enamel.
If you’d like to chat with a dentist about your best options for dental care during your pregnancy, give Pinnacle Dental Associates a call! We work hard to ensure our patients are comfortable and informed, whether during a routine dental visit or a checkup during your pregnancy. We’d love to help you take great care of your teeth and gums on the path to becoming a new parent!