Toothache During Pregnancy: What To Expect & Do
Trouble finding a comfortable position to sleep, morning sickness funny craving and a sore back is all part and parcel of pregnancy. But it does not stop there. Many other strange symptoms can happen to expectant women during pregnancy. Toothache during pregnancy is one such symptom.
Sometimes, pregnancy can lead to various dental problems like gum disease and a higher risk of decay. This is majorly due to the increased hormones, which may affect your body’s usual response to the plaque. In this article, we are going to look at various dental issues during pregnancy and what to expect.
Are Dental Visits Safe during Pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe for pregnant women to visit the dentist. It is highly recommended as it is vital for the health of both you and your baby.
Inform your dentist
It is crucial that you inform your dentist of your condition and the expected due date. If the dental team knows you are pregnant, they may put off specific x-rays, until after the baby is born. If a dental x-ray is unavoidable, the dentist will take extra precaution to ensure the safety of your baby. They may also position the dental chair in a position that makes you more comfortable and helps prevent you from feeling light-headed.
Is Regular Dental Cleaning Safe?
Oral health care, including regular teeth cleaning, is safe throughout pregnancy. It is crucial for pregnant women to have regular dental checkups, cleanings, and all the necessary dental treatments during pregnancy. This is because, during this period, pregnant women are highly susceptible to various dental conditions like pregnancy gingivitis. Also, delaying any necessary treatments during pregnancy can result in significant risk for you and your child.
General Dentist Treatment Advice for Pregnant Women
Medications You Can Take
Make sure to inform your any dentist of any medicines and over the counter drugs you are taking. This information will help them decide what prescription is right for you.
Local Anesthetics During Pregnancy
Fortunately, lidocaine, which is the most commonly used local anaesthetic during dental treatments, is considered to have almost no negative effect on the mother and the fetus (source).
Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy
Getting an intra-oral dental x-ray during pregnancy is safe as the abdomen is not irradiated. However, unless absolutely necessary, x-rays are usually postponed until after birth for the mother’s peace of mind. Full-mouth x-rays are avoided during pregnancy due to the higher amount of radiation involved.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Mouth?
While the majority of pregnant women make it through the nine months without experiencing any dental discomfort, others may suffer the following;
Pregnancy comes with various hormonal changes that may affect your mouth in multiple ways. For instance, some women may experience pregnancy gingivitis, which causes gum inflammation, tenderness, and swelling. Your gums may also bleed whenever you brush your teeth or floss. If not treated, pregnancy gingivitis may lead to a more severe form of gum disease.
Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
Expectant women are at a higher risk of getting cavities because of;
- Consuming more carbohydrates than usual
- Morning sickness and vomiting, which increases the acidity in your mouth, leading to the corrosion of the enamel
- Slacking on brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing for many reasons like a gag reflex, exhaustion, tender gums and morning sickness
Some pregnant women develop an overgrowth of tissue on the gum, especially during the 2nd trimester. This is what is known as pregnancy tumours. This tumour is not cancerous, and it disappears after pregnancy. The swelling may be as a result of excessive plaque.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth During Pregnancy
The variations in hormonal behaviour during pregnancy can cause tooth sensitivity. Hormonal changes cause softening of the tissue present in your mouth, intensifying sensitivity. They also hinder your body’s typical response to bacteria, which may cause periodontal infections. As a result, it creates a favourable environment for plaque to build up, making you more susceptible to gingivitis.
Increased blood flow
During pregnancy, your blood flow increases in your gums, giving rise to gum issues like sensitivity, irritability, swelling and gingivitis.
A lot of women develop gum disease during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes occurring in their bodies. If not treated, the infection may affect an unborn child’s development.
The acidic nature of your vomit during pregnancy can cause tooth decay.
How to Prevent Mouth, Gum and Tooth Pain During Pregnancy
Use tooth sensitive toothpaste
Tooth sensitive toothpaste features an active ingredient stannous fluoride, which is clinically proven to protect teeth from painful sensitivity. These kinds of toothpaste also make a big difference in your ability to follow a regular oral care routine.
Use a Soft-bristled toothbrush
Tooth sensitivity requires tender care. A soft bristled brush will clean between and around your teeth thoroughly while gently reducing soreness and bleeding gums.
Wear a nightguard
Avoid grinding your teeth by wearing a night guard to prevent the wearing of your enamel.
Increase your calcium intake
Calcium helps to counter the acids in your mouth that may cause decay. It also helps keep your teeth and bones healthy.
Salt water rinse
Gargling with salt water helps prevent inflammation and works to heal your gums in case of gingivitis.
Other mouth rinses
Use fluoride or an antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent that buildup of plaque and gingivitis. You can also add a teaspoon of baking soda to your water to use as a mouth rinse especially after morning sickness as it helps prevent the acid from damaging your teeth.
Practice good oral hygiene
It is highly recommended that you brush your teeth twice each day using toothpaste that contains fluoride since it provides an extra barrier of protection. While at it, also make sure to floss at least once a day.
It is important that you try to eat a diet rich in balanced whole foods during pregnancy. Preferably, eat a variety of vegetables, whole grains, fruits and dairy products. Avoid sugary or starchy foods like cakes, cookies, dried fruits, and candy.
Avoid sensitive teeth triggers
Do you experience tooth sensitivity when drinking tea or eating ice cream? If yes, we highly recommend that you avoid such foods (teeth triggers). In most cases, the sensitivity usually goes away after pregnancy. Hence, any subsequent tenderness should subside as well, allowing you to indulge in your favourite ice cream and hot drinks.
Eat Fewer Sweets
The bacteria in your mouth flourish when you consume high amounts of sugary foods. As a result, the bacteria release more acids that can damage your dentine, exposing your teeth to decay, sensitivity and soreness. Hence, it is crucial that you reduce your sugary food consumption. If you must indulge, make sure to follow it up by brushing your teeth to remove the fresh debris and prevent buildup in your mouth.
Visit your Dentist
Make sure to keep up with your regular dental checkups. Also, take care of any oral issues as they arise to prevent their severity from escalating. Just make sure to remind your dentist that you are expectant so that they can undertake proper precaution such as foregoing certain types of x-ray.
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If you are worried about a dental related issue, interested in travelling to Malta for a dental holiday or have questions about any of the treatments we offer, please contact us using our new free e-Consultation service. One of our highly-qualified team will respond to your query as soon as possible. Our e-Consultation service is live 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday.
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.
Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics