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James O’Brien, MD

Why Are My Gums More Swollen During Pregnancy?

Are my swollen gums because of pregnancy — or dental problems?

Inflamed or swollen gums are yet another annoying symptom to blame on those pregnancy hormones. And because of your increased blood flow during pregnancy, you might also see some blood on your toothbrush.

Okay, so we don’t want you to freak out — your swollen (and maybe bleeding) gums aren’t necessarily a cause for alarm; they might just be due to your pregnancy status. But it’s still important to tell your dentist about them ASAP, since those gum issues can also be a sign of gum disease and other dental problems. And some studies suggest a link between severe gum disease and preterm delivery. It’s important to see your dentist regularly during pregnancy — and, yes, it’s totally safe as long as the dentist knows you’re expecting.

In the meantime, try switching to a softer toothbrush — that may make brushing more comfortable. Whatever you do, don’t neglect your oral hygiene!

In most cases, your gums go back to normal in the weeks after delivery. So be sure to schedule a follow-up dentist appointment after the birth, just to be sure everything is A-OK.

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