Your body will go through many changes during pregnancy. And we aren’t talking only about your tummy growing bigger. You’ll be more sensitive overall, and that includes your teeth. Dental experts indicate that it’s normal for the teeth to be more sensitive during pregnancy.
How does being pregnant affect your dental health? What problems can you expect, and how to deal with them? Those are questions that our guide tries to answer. Keep reading to learn more about optimal dental care during pregnancy!
What Do Sensitive Teeth Feel Like?
The experts call this dentine hypersensitivity. But whatever name you use, teeth sensitivity is painful and inconvenient. The best description is a sharp sensation you get in your teeth in a certain situation. That’s usually consuming a particular food or drink.
The sensation lasts for a couple of seconds and goes away. However, it triggers again if you repeat the action that caused it.
The most common triggers include:
- Cold drinks and foods
- Hot drinks and foots
- Cold air
- Sugary food and drinks
- Mouth rinses that contain alcohol.
If you experience tooth sensitivity, whether during pregnancy or not, you’ll probably react to everything mentioned above. Grabbing a cold ice cream would cause sensitivity, but the same would happen with herbal tea.
Teeth sensitivity is more common after brushing and flossing or it happens if you use a bit more force than necessary during those processes. Also, increased sensitivity after dental treatments is common, and the same is true for pregnancy.
What Increases Tooth Sensitivity While Pregnant?
Your entire organism changes during pregnancy and your gums and teeth aren’t an exception. Here is a quick overview of the factors that lead to increased teeth sensitivity:
Your gums are among many things that hormones change when you are pregnant. According to CDC, up to three out of four women deal with swollen gums during pregnancy. In fact, it’s one of the strange early pregnancy symptoms you might have when you are expecting.
Professionals call this condition pregnancy gingivitis. It’s gum inflammation that is the beginning stage of periodontal disease. If you notice bleeding gums, this is the primary indicator of pregnancy gingivitis.
Related: 45 Strange Early Pregnancy Symptoms (with Stories from Real Moms)
Related: Early Signs of Pregnancy
2) Eating Habits
While the fact that “pregnant women need to eat for two” is a myth, it’s undeniable that many pregnant women experience food cravings which you might not be able to resist. Those changes in eating habits can lead to consuming foods that form dental plaque.
Related: 7 Pregnancy Myths we all Believed at Some Point
3) Morning Sickness
This is another common condition in women and, together with pregnancy heartburn, it causes nausea and vomiting. If you are frequently vomiting, it can lead to increased bacteria in your mouth: that increases teeth sensitivity and can lead to other dental problems.
Related: 20+ Remedies for Heartburn during Pregnancy (and Tips on how to prevent it)
4) Improved Blood Circulation
Your body adjusts to taking care of you and the baby. As a result, your blood flow increases throughout the body.
This is another thing contributing to teeth sensitivity, but also swollen gums. As a result, your teeth will feel more tender, just like the rest of your body.
How to Treat Sensitive Teeth During Pregnancy
The care for your dental health during pregnancy begins before you get pregnant. Regular dental checkups throughout your life can minimize the risk of these issues appearing during pregnancy.
And if you are planning to stay pregnant soon, schedule a dental checkup soon. That’s vital if you notice any signs of a cavity. But even if everything seems normal, you can ensure your dental health is optimal to minimize potential pregnancy risks for your teeth.
Now, here are some tips and remedies that will help to treat sensitive teeth during pregnancy!
1) It’s Time to Change Your Toothbrush
Even if you aren’t pregnant, using brushes with firm bristles isn’t a smart idea. You need to be more careful not to damage your tooth enamel. But when you are pregnant, and your teeth are more sensitive, you should steer clear of hard toothbrushes.
Instead, you should find one with soft bristles: these will ensure that brushing your teeth isn’t painful anymore while still effectively removing food and other residues between and around your teeth. Also, be sure to be gentle while brushing, especially if you notice sensitivity.
Finally, it can be smart to brush more often than usual. That’s especially true if you feel there’s residue in your mouth after you finish eating.
2) Use a Special Toothpaste
Many toothpaste manufacturers have special formulas designed to combat tooth sensitivity.
Did you notice that hot tea makes your teeth sensitive? Are cold beverages causing discomfort in your mouth when you consume them? However, don’t expect wonders from a single session. It usually takes several days to experience the first effects.
3) Adjust your Flossing and Mouth Rinsing Habits
While many people stick to brushing, they forget to floss. Regular flossing becomes imperative when you are pregnant and have sensitive teeth. You can’t have plaque and food residue in those gaps since they can damage the tooth enamel quicker than usual.
The problem is flossing might cause discomfort and bleeding due to increased blood circulation. If this happens, there’s a modern alternative to try.
Water flossers are advanced dental appliances that remove food and other residues between and around your teeth. These appliances use water released at high pressure to remove anything stuck in your mouth.
4) Monitor Eating Habits
Weird cravings and eating changes are usual during pregnancy. But do yourself a favor and monitor your eating habits. You probably already know what makes you sick and triggers vomiting. Use the same approach for foods and drinks that cause sensitivity.
You might notice your teeth are more sensitive to ice cream than hot coffee. It might be wise to let that ice cream melt for a bit before consuming it then. It’s even better if you can avoid the foods that cause teeth sensitivity altogether.
5) Additional Tips to Treat Teeth Sensitivity When Pregnant
Lifestyle adjustments can also contribute to decreasing teeth sensitivity when pregnant. These tips could be helpful:
5.1) Try to resist those cravings
It’s all about small victories. If it’s too hard to eliminate sugary and acidic drinks and foods, try to reduce their consumption.
And while you are at it, have a laugh reading these funny pregnancy craving quotes!
5.2) Don’t forget to drink water
Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is a common problem when you are pregnant. Monitor your water intake and ensure you consume enough.
This is particularly true if you are pregnant during the summer months when you need to avoid dehydration. If you don’t like drinking too much water, know that sports drinks with electrolytes are also good as they can help replace lost salt and retain fluid.
Related: 20+ Summer Pregnancy Tips (to Survive the Heat!)
If you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or lots of sweating, try DripDrop ORS (oral rehydration solution) which quickly replenishes electrolytes, speeds up re-hydration and increases fluid retention.
5.3) Using a straw is a neat trick
Using a straw is great if molars and premolars are your most sensitive teeth. You can avoid immediate contact with hot or cold beverages with these teeth to bypass sensitivity.
5.4) Find ways to relieve stress
If you are feeling anxious, nervous or stressed, you might grind your teeth. Teeth grinding can increase their sensitivity and speed up the enamel’s deterioration.
There are lots of fun and creative things that you could try do while pregnant to relieve some stress, such as having a girls night out, going on a babymoon or paint your belly. There are also lots of pregnancy exercises that are safe and that can definitely help.
- 20+ Fun & Creative Things to do while Pregnant
- 8 Tips for Coping with Anxiety During Pregnancy
- Best Pregnancy & Antenatal Exercises safe for all Trimesters (and for easier labor!)
5.5) Pain medications require a doctor’s approval
You can get OTC painkillers if your teeth problems become too severe. But before using them, consult with your doctor and get their approval. You wouldn’t want to compromise your or your baby’s health, so check if the medications are a great idea. It’s wise to do the same even if you get supplements or natural pain remedies.
Practicing Proper Oral Hygiene
Optimal oral hygiene is imperative throughout your life but becomes critical during pregnancy. It’s the foundation of avoiding potential dental problems, which can be a major inconvenience.
Check out these tips on practicing proper oral hygiene when pregnant!
1) Brush your Teeth at Least Twice a Day
Fluoride toothpaste that combats teeth sensitivity and a toothbrush with soft bristles is the winning combo. You should stick to optimal brushing rules, so brush your teeth twice daily. Make sure to be thorough – every session should last 2-3 minutes.
It’s crucial that you brush your teeth before heading to bed. If necessary, you can brush them more than twice per day. However, avoid pushing things too far since you can damage tooth enamel.
Don’t forget to be gentle while brushing your teeth. You don’t want to use side-to-side moves. Circular and gentle motions are the best way to go. It’s how you should brush your teeth anytime, and not only when you are pregnant.
2) Rinse your Mouth after Vomiting
Vomiting is often during pregnancy, whether it’s caused by morning sickness or other factors. Since that leads to more bacteria in your mouth, you should act quickly.
Begin with rinsing your mouth as soon as you can after vomiting. You can use a specialized mouth rinse or even water. If you go with the latter, saltwater might be a smart idea, but only if you can handle it. As for brushing, you can do that 30-60 minutes after vomiting.
3) Don’t Forget Flossing
You can floss once daily, but use an oral irrigator after every meal. A water flosser helps remove any food residue immediately. It shouldn’t put any pressure on your teeth, so there shouldn’t be an issue with sensitivity.
You can try flossing if possible, but it’s not mandatory. If you find it leads to bleeding or causes a big discomfort, pause it temporarily. If that happens, use a water flosser as an alternative.
4) Never Hesitate to Consult or Contact your Dentist
Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to visit the dentist for a regular exam. Some surgeries aren’t advisable for pregnant women, but many dental treatments are available. It depends on your individual situation, how far along you are, and other factors.
A dental professional will recommend the best way to treat your oral health problem.
Sensitive Teeth During Pregnancy: Final Thoughts
Here it is mom-to-be, all the best tips and remedies for sensitive teeth while you are expecting. I really hope you have found these useful and that they will help you get some relief from all the discomfort.
Pregnancy can be such a magical time in a woman’s life, but hormones and all the changes that the body goes through definitely don’t make it an easy journey! Just try and remember that it won’t last forever and you’ll soon be holding your baby in your harms and all the pregnancy symptoms will become a distant memory.
For more tips and information on how to survive pregnancy, also check out these related posts:
- Pregnancy Survival Kit (30+ Essentials for Mom & Dad)
- How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow for Back Pain
- 11 Best Pregnancy Planners (incl. FREE & Printable!)
- 20+ Fun & Creative Things to do while Pregnant
For more tips and information on how to get ready for birth:
- 10 of the Quickest Ways to go into Labor Overnight (with Stories from Real Moms)
- 15 Signs that Labor is 24 to 48 Hours Away
- 20 of the Best Online Birthing Classes (to prepare for and overcome your fears of birth)
Are you a mom-to-be and have some questions about anything that you have read in this article? Or are there any more tips that you think might help other expecting moms and that should be added in here? Then please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!
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Thanks for the information. I’m sure many moms here will feel identified with this post.
I am currently pregnant with my 3rd and have definitely had this problem. My dentist recommended a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and it has helped so much!
Thanks for Sharing your experience Rachael!