There is every chance that, during your pregnancy, you will experience a range of symptoms you have never had before. Bleeding gums are one of them. You might be surprised to see a bit of blood on your toothbrush or dental floss, but it is common during pregnancy. That being said, proper oral care during pregnancy is vital for your and your baby's health. Bleeding gums during pregnancy is not something to worry too much about, but you should take some important steps to control the condition for your own comfort and peace of mind.
Why It Happens
Bleeding gums is a symptom of gum disease. This is referred to as 'pregnancy gingivitis' since your gums are more likely to become inflamed due to the hormonal changes caused by pregnancy. This inflammation makes you more susceptible to the germs in plaque. Pregnancy gingivitis can leave your gums tender and swollen while you are pregnant, which is why they often bleed when you brush and floss.
The gum problems experienced during pregnancy signal a mild form of gum disease that can progress to periodontitis, which can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight or pre-eclampsia. Proper oral care before, during and after your pregnancy will help to prevent these issues and keep your baby as healthy as possible during gestation and after delivery.
What You Can Do
Proper oral care during pregnancy is the best way to prevent gum problems. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush gently twice a day; soft bristles and a gentle brushing motion prevent an excess of pressure on your gums that can lead to bleeding. Brushing roughly can exacerbate inflammation. Use toothpaste with fluoride, which is essential for healthy teeth. Make sure you floss once a day as well.
See your dentist regularly during your pregnancy. He or she will monitor your gums for problems and will offer tips for keeping bleeding to a minimum. If you notice a lot of blood on your toothbrush or when you spit, call your dentist and let him or her know. They will probably schedule an appointment to rule out a more serious problem.
Limit sugary foods and those that stick to your teeth. This includes many types of sweets, soda, juice and desserts. Make sure you're getting enough vitamin C and calcium, which are nutrients that play a big role in the health of your teeth and gums.