Gum and teeth change
During pregnancy, your gums are more likely to become inflamed or infected. Most pregnant women have some bleeding of their gums, especially while brushing or flossing their teeth. Inflamed gums are called "gingivitis." Infected gums are called "periodontal disease." You may also notice that your mouth produces more saliva during pregnancy. Your gums and teeth may change during pregnancy because of:
- Hormonal changes
- Increased blood flow throughout your body that can cause swelling, sensitivity and tenderness in your gums
It's important to keep you gums and teeth healthy during pregnancy.
Keep teeth and gums clean.
- If possible, brush after every meal for at least 5 minutes at a time.
- Floss daily. If possible, floss after every meal.
Be gentle with your teeth and gums.
- Use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently.
- If you have a lot of sensitivity, try using toothpaste designed for sensitive gums.
- If your gums hurt after brushing, apply ice to soothe the pain.
Cut down on sweets.
- Candy, cookies, cake, soft drinks and other sweets can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
- Instead, have fresh fruit or make other healthy choices to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Get regular dental care.
- If left unchecked, some conditions, like gingivitis, may lead to more serious gum disease.
- Be sure to have a dental checkup early in pregnancy to help your mouth remain healthy.
- You may even want to see your dentist more often than usual.
Don't put off dental work until after delivery.
- Decaying teeth can cause infection that could harm your baby.
- Always be sure to tell your dentist that you're pregnant and how far along you are.
Schedule a dental appointment immediately if:
- Your gums bleed a lot
- Your gums are painful
- You have bad breath that doesn't go away
- You lose a tooth
- You have a lump or growth in your mouth
- You have pain in a tooth
Download a brochure from the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center.
Most common questions
How do you know you're pregnant?
Knowing the signs of pregnancy can help you tell if you’re pregnant. Here are some signs that you might be pregnant:
If you have any of these pregnancy signs and think you may be pregnant, go to your health care provider. The sooner you know you're pregnant, the sooner you can begin prenatal checkups and start taking good care of yourself and your growing baby.
Is my baby moving enough?
You'll start feeling your baby's kicks at around the 28th week of pregnancy. By this time, your baby's movements are usually well established and some health care providers recommend keeping track of these movements.
- Track kick counts at about the same time each day when your baby is active.
- Track kick counts shortly after you've eaten a meal (when your baby may be most active).
- Sit or lay on your side, place your hands on your belly and monitor baby's movement.
- Mark every movement down on a piece of paper. Don't count baby's hiccups.
Keep counting until you've felt 10 movements from baby. If baby doesn't move 10 times within 1 hour, try again later that day. Call your health provider if your baby's movement seems unusual or you've tried more than once that day and can't feel baby move 10 times or more during 1 hour.
When will I start feeling my baby move?
Popcorn popping. A little fish swimming. Bubbles. Butterflies. Tickles. These are common words used by women to describe their baby's first movements. Also known as "quickening," it's a reassuring sign that your baby is OK and growing. This milestone typically starts sometime between 18 to 25 weeks into pregnancy. For first-time moms, it may occur closer to 25 weeks, and for second- or third-time moms, it may happen much sooner.
At first it may be difficult to tell the difference between gas and your baby moving. You might not feel movement as early as you are expecting to feel it, but you'll notice a pattern soon. You'll start to learn when the baby is most active and what seems to get her moving.