Bleeding gums during pregnancy – is this normal?

while you are pregnant your body experiences many hormonal fluctuations.  The changing levels of hormones in your body can affect your oral health as well as many other areas of health.  Specifically, these changing hormones make your gums more sensative to plaque.  If you become pregnant while you already have gum disease, pregnancy can intensify it.  While you are pregnant, it is especilly important to practice good oral hygiene.

Increased blood flow through the body will often make the gums swell.  This also increases your vulnerability to gum disease.  Additionally, during pregnancy most pregnant women have some bleeding of their gums, particularly while brushing or flossing.   You may also notice that your mouth produces more saliva during pregnancy.

When you visit your dentist you should inform her if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.  Dental x-rays may not be safe during pregnancy, and knowing you are trying to become pregnant can help in planning x-ray treatments. 

There are several steps you should follow while you are pregnant to insure good oral hygiene.  Brush thoroughly at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed.  If possible, brush after every meal for at least five minutes at a time.  If you vomit, you should brush afterwards to clean your teeth and mouth.  Use a good quality, soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste containing flouride.  If you have a lot of sensativity, try using toothpast designed for sensative teeth.  If you experience pain after brushing, use ice to sooth the pain and reduce swelling.

You should schedule a dental appointment immediately if:  Your gums bleed a lot or are painful, you experience breath that doesn’t go away, you lose a tooth or have pain in a tooth, or if you have a lump or growth in your mouth.  Decaying teeth and gum disease can lead to an infection which may complicate pregnancy. 



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