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Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 6/29/2011

Bleeding gums during pregnancy (pregnancy gingivitis) can lead to serious problems if not taken care of. Learn why pregnant women are at risk and know what you can do to take care of this problem.

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    Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy

    Causes

    Red, swollen, tender, and bleeding gums are a common occurrence while pregnant. It is known as pregnancy gingivitis. About 50% of pregnant women will have these symptoms, especially when brushing and flossing.

    When a woman becomes pregnant, her body goes through many changes to accommodate new life. Hormonal changes are primarily responsible for pregnancy gingivitis. Higher levels of hormones increase blood supply to the mouth, causing the gums to be more sensitive and swollen. This can put a woman more at risk for gum disease.

    Bleeding gums usually increase in severity during the second trimester. If you had gum disease before you became pregnant, it can intensify during pregnancy.

    Treatment

    Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day for 4-5 minutes. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and do not apply a lot of pressure. Brush after vomiting. If your toothpaste makes you nauseous, try using an all-natural baking soda toothpaste.

    Floss your teeth at least once a day.

    Visit your dentist at least once during your pregnancy for a professional cleaning. Be sure your dentist knows you are pregnant.

    To help soothe pain, decrease swelling, and stop bleeding gums associated with pregnancy gingivitis:

    • soak a piece of gauze in ice cold water and firmly apply it over your gums
    • rinse your mouth with salt water (1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of water)

    Eating healthy foods will help treat and prevent bleeding gums during pregnancy:

    • limit foods and beverages containing sugar
    • eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
    • drink adequate amounts of water

    Do not use tobacco products. Tobacco can aggravate pregnancy gingivitis.

    Although bleeding gums are a common occurrence during pregnancy, you should still inform your health care provider, especially if the bleeding is severe.

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.