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I'm Pregnant - Should My Gums Bleed?

Updated on August 4, 2010

Bleeding gums are so common during pregnancy that many people believe that this is normal.

It isn't.

Pregnancy gingivitis is the same as any other gingivitis. Gums become red, swollen and tender because they are being irritated and damaged by bacterial plaque on the teeth. Elevated hormone levels make your body REACT more strongly to this irritation when you are pregnant - but they do not CAUSE it.

The answer, as with most things dental, is to practise meticulous oral hygiene. Brush thoroughly - this is likely to increase the bleeding in the short term because the sensitized gums react to contact from the brush - but, unless you remove the plaque that is causing the problem, the situation will not improve. You must also clean between your teeth using dental floss or interdental brushes if you have sufficient space to get them in. Your dentist or hygienist will advise you and devise a programme tailored to your specific needs.

It is vital that you visit your dentist regularly (whether or not you are pregnant) and respond quickly to any bleeding because periodontal problems (i.e. problems of the structures that support the teeth) are progressive. This means that they ALWAYS leave you in a worse state than you were in before you had a problem. The damage may progress quickly or slowly - but it is permanent. Nip it in the bud immediately you notice a problem.

Time takes everything away from us in the end; it doesn't need our help to speed things up through neglect, especially when we're in the process of bringing new life into the world.

Tom Nolan is a dentist with over 30 years’ experience.

If you found this article useful, you should check out his book

Watch Your Mouth – An Owner’s Manual.

Also available as a download. This book is packed with practical advice and will tell you everything you need to know to keep your mouth healthy, trouble-free and beautiful for the rest of your life.

And, as always, you can get in touch via The Dentist in Town

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