Why pregnant women get swollen gums (and how to prevent them)
Ah, hormones. When you’re pregnant, they can be blamed for lots of stuff. Like swollen gums. Pregnancy can cause this condition, also known as “pregnancy gingivitis.” It’s common — about half of us get it — but it can be annoying, mostly because swollen gums tend to bleed more readily when flossed or brushed. This type of mild gum disease also makes you more sensitive to the germs in plaque.
Why me? When you are pregnant, blood flow increases — all over your body, including your gums. Increased blood flow in the gums can lead to inflammation, so even your regular brushing and flossing routine can now irritate your gums and make you prone to gum disease.
Why should I care? Gum disease can lead to pain and something called periodontitis, a serious condition that involves the gums pulling away from the teeth, leaving pockets where infections can set up.
Uh-oh. Do I have pregnancy gingivitis? Do a symptom check. Here are some signs:
- red or swollen gums
- tender or bleeding gums
- sensitive teeth
- difficulty or pain when chewing
- loose teeth
Smoking and diabetes make you more prone to swollen gums (pregnancy gingivitis). So manage those to the best of your ability.
Just tell me what to do. I’ll do it! The folks at AmericanPregnancy.org recommend starting with these natural solutions:
- Brush and floss. This rids the gums and mouth of bacteria, reducing or reversing gum inflammation.
- Vitamin C. Try eating more fruits that are rich in vitamin C. This easy tip can actually help combat gingivitis, and it tastes good, too! …Just not right after you brush your teeth. Orange juice and toothpaste: don’t go there. Juice tends to have more sugar than fruit, and that sugar is bad for your teeth.
- Vitamin A. Check your pre- or postnatal multi-vitamin for this bone builder.
- Sea salt. Gargling with sea salt and water can calm inflammation and help heal irritated gums.
Help! Home remedies aren’t working for me. Sometimes, you need to call in the professionals. Start with a visit to your dentist. He or she might recommend oral antibiotics or a prescription mouth rinse.
Dental care while pregnant is important and recommended by health experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Don’t have a dentist? Find one here.