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Why do my gums bleed during my pregnancy?

Posted Apr 20 2010 8:16am

First and foremost, congratulations on your pregnancy! :)

This is a very common question asked by many pregnant patients. Though not all will have bleeding gums, about half of them tend to have some mild to moderate gingivitis. This is also called pregnancy gingivitis and the inflammation is caused by hormonal changes in the body (higher progesterone levels) that make your gums more sensitive to the plaque bacteria and by increased blood supply to your mouth.

Some people may develop a small lump on the gum that bleeds easily when you brush. This gum nodule (which is rare) is called a pregnancy epulis. It can grow to quite a large size on the gums and is more likely to appear in area in the mouth where you have neglected in your brushing and the gums are usually red and swollen in the begining. 

It usually disappear after your baby is delivered. But if it doesn’t, you will need to have it removed. If it causes discomfort, interferes with chewing or brushing, or starts to bleed profusely, you can have it removed while you are pregnant.

Remember to take good care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy. If you don’t treat gingivitis, it can get worse and develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease in which the infection goes beyond your gums into the bone and other tissue that support your teeth.

Prevention is key. Practice good oral hygiene and get regular preventive dental care. Brush thoroughly but gently at least twice a day and floss daily. If you have not seen your dentist recently, schedule a visit now for a thorough cleaning and checkup. And be sure to let him or her know that you are pregnant and which trimester you are in. 

You may probably need to see your dentist more than 1 visit during your pregnancy, or even more often if you already have gum disease, since pregnancy is likely to make the problem worse.

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