Most women notice changes in their gums during pregnancy; common signs are gums that look redder and bleed during tooth brushing. Some women also experience severe swelling and bleeding gums. All of these changes are referred to as ‘’pregnancy gingivitis’’. This can start as early as the second month of pregnancy. The condition tends to peak around the eighth month and it often tapers off after the baby is born.

The condition occurs more frequently during pregnancy because the increased level of hormones, estrogen and progesterone, exaggerates the way gums react to the irritants in plaque. However, it’s still plaque—not hormones—that is the major cause of gingivitis. It’s most common in the front of the mouth. During pregnancy, the level of progesterone in your body can be 10 times higher than normal. This may enhance growth of certain bacteria that cause gingivitis. Your immune system may also work differently during pregnancy. This could change the way your body reacts to the bacteria that cause gingivitis.

Healthy tips before and during pregnancy:

  • Visit your dentist for a checkup and if needed clean
  • Brush twice a day
  • Daily flossing
  • Limit sweet or starchy foods
  • Eat foods high in calcium
  • Manage dry mouth; drink lots of water.