Once you conceive, you expect to fully enjoy the glow of motherhood, feel blessed, and not feel discomforts like toothache! But it’s a sad fact that pregnant women are more prone to swollen gums, gingivitis, and other tooth problems. And if you’ve been neglecting your dental care for long, it goes without saying that toothache during pregnancy is inevitable.
What Causes Toothache At This Stage?
The most common causes of sensitive teeth during pregnancy include the following:
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), pregnancy hormones can actually affect the way your body responds to bacteria, which can lead to periodontal infection and – you guessed it – sore teeth and gums.
2. Increased Blood Flow
Your body is working overtime to support both you and your little one, which results in increased blood flow in the body. This can create sensitive, swollen gums that are tender to the touch. Hot and cold foods can therefore trigger sensitivity, even if you’ve never experienced it before.
3. Gum Disease
Pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease, which can also be a catalyst for preterm labor. Bleeding and sore and infected gums can definitely lead to a sore mouth and plenty of discomfort.
4. Diet Changes
Hormonal and psychological factors may cause changes in the dietary patterns during pregnancy. Many pregnant women increase sugar consumption, which leads to a high risk of developing toothaches due to tooth decay.
5. Calcium Deficiency
Pregnant women need an increased intake of calcium, which is used for the bone formation in the baby. Lower calcium levels of the mother may weaken the natural remineralization cycle of the tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities and tooth pain.
6. Morning Sickness
Increased vomiting during pregnancy can cause irritation of the gums due to stomach acids and demineralization of the tooth enamel, promoting gum disease and tooth decay.
7. Poor Oral Hygiene
Pregnant women sometimes become sensitive to the smell or taste of toothpaste and they start avoiding brushing. Neglecting oral hygiene puts them at high risk of dental problems and pregnancy toothache.
What Are The Available Treatments?
Dentists and doctors suggest that dental health problems should be treated even during pregnancy, with some considerations. The main concerns are with x-rays, anesthesia, and taking pain relief medication during pregnancy. You should always inform your dentist that you are pregnant so that he can ensure that nothing affects your pregnancy.
Having x-rays is a major concern during pregnancy. Your dentist will try to avoid taking x-rays unless it is absolutely necessary. The dentist will ideally use a lead apron shield and thyroid collar that can protect you and the baby from the harmful effects of the x-ray radiation.
The dentist will keep the dosage of the anesthetic drugs to the minimum to ensure your comfort during the procedure and the protection of the fetus.
Some of the available toothache medications can be harmful for the unborn child. Studies have shown that tooth pain medicines like oxycodone and percocet can produce birth defects.
Hence, discuss with your dentist about your pregnancy before taking any medication. Your dentist will recommend specific pain relievers like acetaminophen that are considered safe for pregnant women. Antibiotics like penicillin may also be prescribed to fight tooth infection during pregnancy.
4. Necessity Of Dental Treatments
Conditions that cause tooth pain, especially those related to tooth or gum infections, should be treated as soon as possible. Some dental treatments that do not affect your dental health such as cosmetic dentistry should be postponed until after pregnancy.
5. Timing Of The Treatment
The second trimester is considered to be the safest and most recommended period for receiving dental treatment. If you experience a pregnancy toothache during the first trimester, when the organs of the fetus develop, talk to your dentist if the treatment can be postponed for some weeks, especially if x-rays are required.
However, depending on the severity of the problem, your dentist may recommend that you get immediate treatment. The third trimester does not pose any great risk for the fetus, but it may be uncomfortable for the expecting mother if the treatment requires much time on the dental chair.
Home Remedies For Pregnancy Toothache
If you have a mild toothache during pregnancy, you can try some of these popular home remedies:
1. Hot Compresses
Take a hot, damp cloth and apply it to the side of the face that has the toothache. This increases circulation to the affected area and allows your immune system to tackle the source of the pain.
2. Ice Compress
A cold compress with ice inside a bag can ease the discomfort of an aching tooth. Or, soak a clean cloth in ice cold water, wring it out, and put it on the side of the face. Even a bag of peas or chopped vegetables can be used as an ice pack on your face to numb the nerves causing the toothache.
Clove oil or regular cloves can be used during pregnancy to relieve toothache. You can simply chew on a clove or put clove oil on a cotton ball, applying directly over the aching tooth. Clove alleviates the pain and also behaves as an antiseptic that can relieve some of the infectious symptoms associated with a decayed tooth.
Garlic is an age-old remedy for toothache. You can apply crushed garlic and clove on the tooth or chew on a piece of garlic. Garlic contains allicin, which is an antibiotic agent that directly attacks the bacteria causing the tooth infection.
Try chewing on a piece of raw onion for a few minutes. If chewing is too difficult, put a slice of onion atop the tooth to let the juices relieve the pain.
Mash some spinach leaves to make a sort of paste or chew directly on the spinach leaves for pain relief.
7. Guava Leaves
The juice from guava leaves can serve as a gargling solution for toothache. You can chew directly on the leaves or put the leaves in boiling salted water and gargle. Be sure to gargle in such a way that the juices can get deep into the tooth.
8. Warm Water
This is an extremely simple home remedy. Mix a little bit of salt with lukewarm water. Use it as a gargle or rinse to remove any food particles lodged between your teeth and to relieve the toothache.
9. High-Sugar Foods
Avoid consuming foods high in sugar when you are pregnant. Sugar contributes to the plaque on teeth that can make the toothache worse.
10. Topical Cream
You can also apply a topical cream that has benzocaine as its main ingredient. This ingredient is also used for teething creams for babies and is safe to use during pregnancy.
However, it is better to simply prevent the possibility of toothache during pregnancy. So take dental exams regularly and keep good oral hygiene to avoid any gum and tooth problems.