Pregnancy brings many physical changes, but we often don't think about what it means for the mouth. One often less discussed side-effect of pregnancy is mouth ulcers - little welt-like spots sometimes referred to as canker sores. These appear on your tongue, lips or inner cheeks and can cause pain and irritation. To help you understand why this might be happening and what you can do, we’ve put together the key basics on canker sores in pregnancy.
Canker sores in pregnancy: Why does it happen?
There are a number of things happening in your body that make you more susceptible to canker sores / mouth ulcers during pregnancy:
Hormonal changes: Pregnancy generates hormonal changes which can affect the way our body responds to toxins and even the blood supply to the gum tissue. This makes women more prone to oral health issues.
Vitamin deficiency: There are a number of foods that may cause canker sores like chocolate wheat and citrus fruits. However in pregnancy there is another possible dietary cause – vitamin deficiency. So much is going on in your body during this time that it’s pretty easy to not get enough. Try to ensure sufficient intake of Vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc in particular.
Stress: Pregnancy can be a stressful time. You’re coping with these bodily changes, while trying to prepare for a new baby and holding down all your normal responsibilities. Sometimes the body reacts physically to stress and one symptom can be mouth ulcers in pregnancy.
Destabilised immunity: mouth ulcers during pregnancy may not be a symptom of a weakened immune system which is normal at this stage, they may be the symptom of a viral infection or other causes of mouth ulcers.
What to do if you get a mouth ulcer when pregnant?
If you’ve inspected your mouth, lips or tongue and found a mouth ulcer during pregnancy, there are a few things you can do. Firstly it’s important to ensure you are following a good oral hygiene regime. This includes brushing your teeth with a clinically proven toothpaste like Zendium at least twice a day, flossing and using a mouth wash.
If the toothbrush is irritating your gums or the ulcer site, try using a brush with softer bristles and taking the process slowly. You can also buy creams or pastes to put on the ulcer to help relieve pain; talk to your pharmacist about this. It’s also important to avoid any food that may cause or further irritate canker sores. Ulcers are generally self-limiting, but if they are causing you a lot of pain, look inflamed, last longer than three weeks or keep coming back talk to your doctor or dentist for some professional advice.
There are a number of things happening in your body that make you more susceptible to canker sores / mouth ulcers during pregnancy.