We all know the most common pregnancy symptoms, nausea, cravings, the dreaded swollen ankles, and well, swollen everything. But, what about toothache? Is that a normal pregnancy symptom or cause for alarm?
So, what causes toothache during pregnancy?
Those late-night ice cream runs are going to wreak havoc on more than your waistline — too much sugar increases your risk of tooth decay that leads to fillings and cavities. Also, if you’re late-night snacking on fatty foods like ice cream and hamburgers, you increase your risk of heartburn, which will produce more stomach acid regurgitation and damage your teeth. So, stick to healthy snacks and cravings as much as possible, and if you’re dying for sweets, opt for fresh fruit. If you absolutely must have sugar, be sure to rinse your mouth and/or brush your teeth after.
Pregnancy, unfortunately, comes with its fair share of vomiting, which can in turn damage the teeth. Pregnancy-induced vomiting can cover your teeth with stomach acids that can eventually damage the tooth’s surface and increase the chances of tooth decay. Here’s what you can do if you’ve been vomiting:
- Don’t brush your teeth right after you vomit. Wait at least one hour.
- Rinse your mouth with water after vomiting, and then use a fluoride mouthwash.
- Use toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth to avoid further damage and pain.
You’ve got those same lovely pregnancy hormones that make you nauseous 24/7 to thank for increasing your risk of gum problems during pregnancy, including:
- Periodontal disease, or infected gums, ligament, and bone structure that supports the tooth. This is commonly caused by untreated gingivitis and can eventually cause tooth loss.
- A common gum infection, also known as gingivitis, generally happens in the second trimester and includes symptoms of swollen gums that bleed when brushed and/or flossed.
If you’re experiencing gum problems during pregnancy, it’s critically important to get them checked out by a dentist before you go into labour because even though it’s usually the hormones causing the pregnancy dental issues, and they subside after giving birth, it’s not always the case. Some women develop deeper levels of gum disease during pregnancy and need to continue treatment after they’ve given birth.
Perhaps one of the least common pregnancy-related dental complications is loose teeth. This happens when hormones start impacting the ligaments that hold the teeth in your mouth. If you notice any of your teeth are moving more than usual, contact your dentist as soon as possible. We recommend upping your intake of calcium and vitamin D during pregnancy to protect your bones and keep them strong as your baby develops. Of course, you should continue brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing during pregnancy to maintain good oral health and prevent pregnancy-related dental complications.
Is It Alarming?
The short answer is no. Having a toothache while pregnant is generally not alarming and is, in fact, quite normal.
What Can You Do About It?
Even with toothache in pregnancy, pain relief is possible. Here’s what you can do:
The good news is there are also some things you can do to alleviate tooth pain in pregnancy, including:
- Apply a cold compress on the cheek closest to your tooth in question.
- Rinse your mouth with a mixture of one cup warm water and one teaspoon salt.
- Contact your healthcare provider before you take any painkillers for your tooth pain while pregnant.
- If your tooth pain persists for more than a couple of days, contact your dentist.
Dana Street Dental Can Help
Are you struggling with a toothache in pregnancy? Dana Street Dental is here for you. We’re passionate about what we do and find great reward in empowering and encouraging our patients to better care for their teeth. Contact us today and book an appointment to see one of our experienced and compassionate dentists.