Pregnancy Gingivitis: Signs, Symptoms, and Home Treatments

Learning that you're pregnant is a wonderful time. However, it also brings a lot of worries and questions. Will you have a girl or a boy? When should you schedule your first prenatal checkup? Is the baby okay in there?

These are all valid concerns, of course. But you shouldn't neglect your oral health either. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause all sorts of oral health issue, such as pregnancy gingivitis.

What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is often caused by a plaque build-up on the teeth. It contains bacteria that produce toxins, which can irritate the gums. You most likely have gingivitis if you have red, swollen, bleeding, or sore gums.

Pregnancy gingivitis is not any different with regular gingivitis. But it is often caused by the increase of hormonal progesterone. This causes a spike in the blood flow to gum tissues, causing swollen and sensitive gums that can easily bleed when you brush or floss. The hormonal changes in a pregnant woman's body make it the perfect breeding ground for gingivitis-causing bacteria.

Pregnancy gingivitis often occurs during the second or eighth month of pregnancy. But you should be extra careful during your second trimester as it can be more severe during this time.

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy Gingivitis

Here are some of the most common signs of gum disease during pregnancy.

  • Swollen or red gums
  • Bleeding, tender, or puffy gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • loose teeth
  • Pain while chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath

Most pregnant women develop gingivitis between their second and eighth month. You may also face an increased risk of tooth decay and loose teeth during the peak of your third trimester.

You will need to schedule a cleaning appointment with your dentist sometime during your second or third trimester. This will help you get an assessment of your overall oral health.

Pregnancy Gingivitis Home Remedies

Here are some home remedies for treating your pregnancy gingivitis.

Gargle with Salt Water

Salt is said to be a natural disinfectant that helps the body heal itself. So, it's not surprising to learn that gargling with salt water can help heal inflamed gums due to gingivitis.

Aside from soothing inflamed gums, saltwater can also help:

  • Reduce bacteria
  • Ease pain
  • Relieve bad breath
  • Remove food particles

To use salt water as a mouth rinse:

  1. Mix 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water.
  2. Gargle the solution for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  3. You can do this two to three times each day.

Note: Using saltwater for rinsing your mouth too long or too often can damage your teeth's enamel. This is because the solution's acidic property can cause your teeth to erode.

Use Mouthwash

If saltwater didn't work for you, you could try other mouthwash options. You'll find many over-the-counter gingivitis prescription mouthwashes in pharmacies. However, you may want to try some of these homemade mouthwashes first.

Aloe Vera Mouthwash

A research in 2016 showed that aloe vera might just be as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing gingivitis and plaque. Unlike other homemade mouthwash options, you don't need to dilute aloe vera juice before use. In fact, you need to make sure that it is 100% pure.

To use aloe vera as a mouth rinse:

  1. Gargle the juice for about 30 seconds before spitting out the solution.
  2. Repeat 2 to 3 times daily.

Make sure to buy aloe vera from a reputable source. You should also carefully follow the instructions on the label.

Furthermore, if you've had an allergic reaction to aloe vera before, it's best for you to avoid this mouthwash.

Lemongrass oil Mouthwash

In a 2015 study, it was found out that lemongrass oil may be more effective than traditional chlorhexidine in reducing gingivitis and plaque level. 

To use lemongrass as a mouth rinse:

  1. In a cup of water, dilute about 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass essential oil.
  2. Gargle the solution for about 30 seconds before spitting out.
  3. Repeat the steps 2 to 3 times daily. 

Before using lemongrass oil, you need to understand that it is quite potent. So, never use in high concentration,especially if you're just starting to use it.

Sage Mouthwash

In a 2015 study, researchers have found out that sage mouthwash was able to reduce the number of dental plaque-causing bacteria significantly. Participants in the said study were able to rinse their mouth with the solution for up to a minute without experiencing any irritation.

To use sage as mouth rinse:

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of dried sage or 2 tablespoons of fresh sage to 1 to 2 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Strain and let the solution cool.
  4. Rinse with this solution 2 to 3 times a day.

Sage has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so it can also help with swollen gums while treating the infection.

Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash

Tea tree oil is another effective mouthwash when used correctly. In fact, it can help reduce gingival bleeding.

To use tea tree oil as mouth rinse:

  1. Mix up to 3 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Gargle the solution for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  3. Repeat the steps 2 to 3 times daily. 

You can also add 1 drop of tea tree oil to your toothpaste when you brush your teeth. If it's your first time using this, make sure to dilute it. High concentrations of tea tree oil can cause several adverse reactions, such as:

  • Mild burning
  • Rash
  • An allergic reaction

It may also cause interactions with some dietary supplements, certain drug, and some herbs. So if you are taking any medications, make sure to talk to your doctor first before using tea tree oil.

Guava Leaf Mouthwash

People have long been using guava leaves to treat and manage oral hygiene. In fact, several studies have shown that the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of guava leaves can significantly control the damaging effects of plaque. Guava leaf, when used as a mouthwash, may also help decrease gum inflammation, freshen breath, and relieve pain.

To use guava leaf as mouth rinse:

  1. Use a mortar and pestle to crush 5 to 6 tender guava leaves.
  2. Mix the crushed leaves to a cup of boiling water.
  3. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Allow it to cool down until lukewarm before adding a dash of salt.
  5. Gargle the solution for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  6. Repeat the steps 2 to 3 times daily. 

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an oral hygiene technique that involves rinsing your mouth with oil for 20 to 30 seconds. This helps eliminate toxins and harmful bacteria, as well as improve your overall dental health. This had been used for thousands of years, but it has only recently become popular in the West.

Arimedadi Oil Pulling

Arimedadi oil can help improve symptoms of gingivitis while inhibiting the growth of plaque.

Other benefits of Arimedadi oil include:

  • Reduces swelling
  • Heals mouth sores
  • Strengthens gums and teeth
  • Relieves pain

To use Arimedadi oil for oil pulling:

  1. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of Arimedadi oil in your mouth.
  2. Gargle the oil inside your mouth for around 20 to 30 minutes before spitting it out. 
  3. Don't let the oil touch the back of your throat.
  4. Rinse your mouth with water.
  5. Drink a glass of water before brushing your teeth.

Warning: If you have sinusitis, avoid using Arimedadi oil.

Coconut Oil Pulling

Coconut oil has been used for so many things since the beginning of time because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. But did you know that it can also be used for oil pulling? In a 2015 study, researchers found out that coconut oil can help reduce signs of gingivitis and plaque. 

Other benefits of coconut oil pulling include:

  • Whitens teeth
  • Relieves tension and headache
  • Freshens breath
  • Clears sinuses

To use coconut oil for oil pulling:

  1. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of fractionated (liquid at room temperature) coconut oil into your mouth.
  2. Gargle the oil inside your mouth for around 20 to 30 minutes before spitting it out. 
  3. Don't let the oil touch the back of your throat.
  4. Rinse your mouth with water.
  5. Drink a glass of water before brushing your teeth.

Oil pulling is generally safe, as long as you're careful not to swallow the liquid since it contains bacteria and toxins that were pulled from your mouth. Additionally, it's okay to swish the liquid in your mouth for less than 20 minutes if you can't tolerate doing so for that long. Alternatively, you can swish for two shorter sessions each day. 

Topical Treatments

If oil pulling and mouthwashes don't help, you can try using a topical gel or cream on your gums.

Turmeric gel

Turmeric has been used to treat different ailments since ancient times because of its many healing properties. In more recent years, it was found out that it can also help prevent gingivitis and plaque when applied as a gel, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.  

Turmeric also has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, which helps it stop gum reddening and bleeding. You may find it labelled as either turmeric gel or Curcuma gel. However, you should avoid this if you have any allergies to turmeric.

Topical application of turmeric gel:

  1. Apply the gel on your gums after brushing your teeth.
  2. Allow the gel to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with water.
  3. Repeat the steps two times a day.


Cloves, as some studies suggest, has the potential to reduce inflammation and prevent plaque. Though more research is needed, it shows much promise. This is mainly because of its natural antioxidant and antiviral properties. They can also be used to help relieve pain. However, you should avoid using cloves for long periods of time or in large quantities.

Topical application of cloves:

  1. Mince approximately 1 teaspoon of cloves.
  2. Dip a damp cotton ball in the minced cloves and gently rub it onto your gums.
  3. Allow the cloves to sit in your gums for a minute before rinsing it with water.

Before you try any of these pregnancy gingivitis home remedies, make sure that you are practising good oral hygiene and eating a healthy, balanced diet. They won't work if you don't practice good dental care in the first place.

When to See Your Dentist

Ideally, you should have regular dental checkups to prevent problems. However, if you already have symptoms of gingivitis, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier you get yourself treated, the better your chances of making a fast recovery. Gingivitis can seriously damage your teeth if left untreated. It may even affect your pregnancy. So, don't wait until that happens. 

See your dentist if you experience:

  • Unnaturally bad breath
  • Severe tooth pain
  • Excessively bleeding gums
  • Extremely inflamed or swollen gums

Your dentist will most likely start by cleaning your teeth. They may even prescribe antibiotics or medicated mouthwash. But if the problem is already too severe for simple cleaning, they may refer you to a periodontist. 

Don't wait until it's too late. Make it a habit to visit your dentist at least twice a year. You should also eat healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.  

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