Updated: Apr 27
Which trimester are you in? But, wait why are your gums bleeding more and what is that gum abscess like looking bump in your mouth?
It is no walk in the park being a pregnant woman and it only becomes more difficult as you progress through the trimesters. Your schedule becomes filled with doctor visits, especially to your OBGYN and everything else baby related. Unfortunately, sometimes your dentist gets left out by drawing the short straw.
Then one day, you are suddenly being forced to remember your dentist in long island city because you noticed an abscess on your gums or at least what you think looks like one. Perhaps something similar to the picture above?
That is what we call a pregnancy tumor but just to emphasize, it is not cancer.
What is a pregnancy tumor?
In appearance it looks very similar to a gingival abscess and typically presents with these symptoms:
Very red and poofy looking
Gums bleeding very easily upon touching it
Definitely very inflamed
Gums may feel sore and tender
According to studies, it is not uncommon in pregnant women to experience this. Approximately 11% or one in nine women will experience some sort of gum disorder during their pregnancy. So you're not alone!
What causes pregnancy gingivitis?
The condition is basically caused by gingivitis during pregnancy. As you know, your hormones are usually elevated while pregnant and sometimes it gets a little bit out of control.
Your body overreacts to the plaque and it may cause your gums to swell up into what looks like a pregnancy tumor. Normally if you were not pregnant, your gums would not get that inflamed looking. You would just have regular gingivitis.
The contributing factors:
Elevated hormones during pregnancy that causes an overreaction.
Pregnant women tend to eat and snack more often.
May not be brushing and flossing their teeth as frequently even though they've been eating more.
Sometimes keeping up with their oral hygiene regime may slip their mind because of the hundreds of other baby related things going on.
Forgetting to go to their dentist for their biannual teeth cleanings.
How to treat pregnancy gingivitis
If you are looking for a home remedy to treat it, you may be able to alleviate some of the symptoms but you won't cure it permanently. The only definitive treatment for this condition, is the same as treating gingivitis, which is to make an appointment with your dentist.
A regular teeth cleaning or dental prophylaxis should take care of it if it is still in the early stages.
This involves cleaning the teeth with the ultrasonic, followed by scaling the teeth to get rid of any tartar or plaque. Finally a polishing paste is applied.
If the condition has progressed beyond the early stages and the gums have swelled up like the photo above, you may need to have the abscess popped in addition to a teeth cleaning.
Depending on how sensitive it feels, you may need some topical numbing gel or even some local anesthetic such as Novocaine or Lidocaine.
Afterwards your dentist may prescribe you an antibiotic mouth rinse to use for the next two weeks, twice a day. You will notice the gum swelling decrease and get tighter. The color should change from poofy swollen red to a pleasant pink.
This antibiotic mouthwash should only be used for as long as the prescribed time because it can be pretty staining on the teeth.
Alternative you can also use a salt water rinse or even do some coconut oil pulling. Oil pulling has been shown to decrease plaque and help fight gingivitis.
To summarize, pregnancy tumors or pregnancy gingivitis, is basically your typical gingivitis but on steroids due to an overreaction of your body to plaque from elevated levels of hormones.
It is still safe to visit your dentist even while you are pregnant. In fact, it is encouraged that you do and be proactive about it so that you can avoid encountering this gum condition to begin with.
Stick with your biannual dental check up and teeth cleaning.
Stay on top of brushing your teeth and flossing your teeth twice a day.
You may want to increase the frequency of the brushing if you are eating more!
A personal recommendation of ours is to try to squeeze in a dental cleaning about a month before your baby is due because we've noticed that there were times where we don't get to see you guys again for an entire year because you've been so busy with your newborn!