What is a Pregnancy Tumor?
If you’re pregnant you’re probably aware of how your hormones are causing many changes in your body. A rise in estrogen and progesterone can cause symptoms like morning sickness, fatigue, brain fog and dizzy spells. But you might not realize they’re also at play when it comes to your oral health.
A mix of plaque buildup and hormones can cause a pregnant woman’s gum tissue to inflame, resulting in something called a “pregnancy tumor.” These tumors, also known as pyogenic granulomas, are not cancerous.
If brain fog has you forgetting to brush and floss regularly, plaque begins to build up along the gums. This buildup is irritating to your mouth. And when tied with shifting hormone levels, it can result in small, red growths of swollen tissue between the teeth.
Pregnancy tumors occur in about 5% of pregnant women but because of hormonal changes in the body, they often disappear after the baby is born.
You can’t control changing hormones, but you can control your oral hygiene routine. To start, visiting the dentist while pregnant is not only safe but recommended. “Pregnant women should schedule a dentist appointment during the first trimester to address any changes in oral health,” says Dr. Heather Schneider, Delta Dental of Arizona dental director. “Not only can your dentist talk with you about the best ways to care for your smile while you’re pregnant, but your dentist can also make sure you get scheduled for any needed x-rays or treatment plans to keep your oral health in check.”
Here are a few other ways Dr. Schneider suggests pregnant women can avoid pregnancy related oral health issues, like pregnancy tumors.
- Brush often. While pregnant, your gums are more prone to swelling and bleeding. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day removes plaque from your teeth and gums.
- Review your benefits. Delta Dental plan holders with certain medical conditions that have oral health effects, like pregnancy, could be eligible for a third cleaning benefit. Eligible members can log in to the Member Connection at deltadentalaz.com/member to register for a third cleaning benefit.
- Say yes to good nutrition. Sugary foods and snacks can be tempting and hard to avoid. This is especially true if you’re craving comfort foods to combat morning sickness. But bacteria love to feast on the sugary debris left over in your mouth, causing plaque buildup. Limiting sugary foods and beverages and adding more fruits and veggies to your diet can help you fight back against plaque.
- Talk with your dentist. While pregnancy tumors often disappear after your baby is born, if you are worried, you can talk with your dentist about removing them.
Taking care of your smile is just one step in a healthy pregnancy journey—by keeping up a good oral hygiene routine you can worry less about plaque and more about picking out baby names.
To learn more about the different ways your oral health can impact your pregnancy, check out these other articles:
- Are X-rays Safe During Pregnancy?
- Keep Your Smile Healthy During Pregnancy
- Why You Don’t Want to Neglect Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
- Dental Products to Use During Pregnancy