Pregnancy is one of the most miraculous things a person can go through in their lifetime, but it’s not without challenges. Aside from all of the unexpected symptoms of pregnancy, sensitive teeth during pregnancy can take expectant mothers by surprise. Here’s why it happens, along with some effective steps to maintain a healthy smile during pregnancy.
What dental changes occur during pregnancy?
There are a variety of dental changes that can occur during pregnancy. The four most common are:
- Teeth tingling
- Sensitive teeth
- Oral tumor
Gingivitis is the technical name for gums that are swollen and bleed more easily. In later stages of pregnancy, even light brushing might cause slight bleeding, and gums may be red and visibly swollen.
This is referred to as pregnancy gingivitis.
Teeth tingling in early pregnancy is exactly what it sounds like. Expectant moms may experience a buzzing or tingling sensation in their teeth that is not painful.
This may occur in other places, too, including in the hands, feet, and legs, but it can be strange to wake up one day and feel your teeth buzzing in your mouth!
If your teeth become sensitive to cold during pregnancy, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common dental issues that occur during pregnancy.
You may also experience sensitivity to hot temperatures, sweets, and spicy food.
Oral pregnancy tumors, also referred to as a pregnancy granuloma or a pyogenic granuloma, occur in 2% to 10% of pregnancies.
Generally appearing in the second trimester, this tumor is raised and red, supported by a thin stalk of flesh, and it bleeds easily. They can pop up anywhere in the mouth and may even crack or crust over. These tumors are not cancerous but can cause additional discomfort during an already uncomfortable time.
Why do sensitive teeth during pregnancy occur?
Adding dental issues to the long list of uncomfortable symptoms women experience during pregnancy seems like adding insult to injury, but the key cause of most pregnancy-related woes is the same: hormones.
When you become pregnant, your body is flooded with hormones that support you and your baby as it grows. In addition, your body’s immune response is slightly suppressed by these hormones, possibly to allow the “invading” baby to make its home more comfortably. A flood of hormones and suppressed immune system make your mouth the perfect place for normal bacteria to become firmly entrenched. This increases the risk of dental infections that might not normally occur.
The first sign of dental issues may be gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by a build-up of plague, the bacteria that we normally brush away twice a day. When it builds and hardens, tartar can push open space between the teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to grow. This causes pain, inflammation, and gums that bleed more easily.
Another side effect of gingivitis is sensitive teeth during pregnancy. When the gums separate, it’s possible that the tooth’s roots become exposed. Once this happens, even a cold draft of air across the teeth from breathing in can cause pain.
Are there any remedies to tooth pain during pregnancy?
Sensitive teeth pregnancy remedies start with excellent dental hygiene.
These five steps can go a long way to preventing your dental issues and tooth pain during pregnancy.
1. Choose a good brush, and go slow
Use a soft-bristled brush to gently care for your teeth and gums during pregnancy.
Many people brush too hard with a harsh brush even when they are not pregnant, but it’s especially important to take your time and be gentle when brushing your teeth.
2. Brush at least twice a day
The same recommendations apply to pregnant women as they do for everyone else. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. If you are experiencing morning sickness (or, as in some cases, most-of-the-day sickness!), rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you are sick. Stomach acid can erode tooth enamel, increasing pain and sensitive teeth during pregnancy.
A simple salt water rinse can also help combat bacteria in the mouth between brushings.
3. Don’t forget to floss
Flossing reaches areas between teeth that brushing cannot get (and that mouthwash doesn’t reach either).
Flossing is also the proverbial canary in the coal mine. If you regularly floss and notice an increase in bleeding gums, this may indicate some pregnancy-related changes that are beginning in your gums.
4. Eat well
You already know how important good nutrition is for your growing baby, but it’s also important to eat well to maintain your good oral health during pregnancy. Sugar and a diet high in processed foods attract oral bacteria, which love to feast on these types of foods. Stick with a diet loaded with fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Avoid sugary or acidic drinks that can erode enamel further – the more water you can drink, the better! Of course, giving in to a pregnancy craving now and then is expected. Just eat as healthy as possible in between.
5. Visit your dentist regularly
With all of your doctor’s appointments during pregnancy, it can be tempting to skip your regular dental visits. Resist that temptation. Your dentist can spot and track any changes in your dental health during pregnancy, offering advice (and a good cleaning) before things get out of hand.
For most women, sensitive teeth during pregnancy (and other pregnancy-related oral health issues) generally go away once the baby is born. The key is to practice good oral hygiene to ensure that they do not lead to more serious dental issues down the road (like periodontal disease).
AZ Dentist has convenient weekend hours at multiple locations across the Phoenix area. We are a family dentist clinic with compassionate experience in prenatal dental care. Get in touch today!