The body goes through many changes during pregnancy. For some women, toothaches are one of those changes. For a woman who has always had good dental hygiene and who has always seen the dentist regularly, this can be an unexpected and unwelcome problem. Understanding the connection between dental problems and pregnancy can help you avoid stress and take good care of your teeth while you’re pregnant. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Do Teeth Hurt So Badly During Pregnancy?
There are many reasons that women experience pain in their teeth during pregnancy. Some women experience inflammation when pregnant, including inflammation in the gums. For other women, hormonal changes can make the gums more vulnerable to plaque, which can in turn lead to tooth aches and pregnancy-related gingivitis.
In fact, as many as 40% of women experience gingivitis during pregnancy. Pregnancy even increases the risk of periodontal disease, and can cause a problem called “pregnancy tumors.” Pregnancy tumors are lumps that form on inflamed gum tissue. Pregnancy tumors are not real tumors, and do not threaten the life of the mother or child. However, they can be very uncomfortable.
If you’re pregnant and are concerned that your teeth could be experiencing any one of the above mentioned problems, here’s what you should watch out for:
Symptoms of Gingivitis
- Red gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Bleeding gums
- Gum sensitivity
- Soft or receding gums
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
The symptoms of periodontal disease are very similar to the symptoms of gingivitis. In addition to the symptoms above, periodontal disease can also cause the following:
- Loose teeth
- Changes in the position of your teeth
- Tooth loss
- Inflammation throughout the body (not just the mouth)
- Pain when chewing
Symptoms of Pregnancy Tumors
Pregnancy tumors can cause lumps near the gum line. These bumps can become bloody and painful. Pregnancy tumors can even make it difficult to talk or chew.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself from gum disease and other dental problems during pregnancy. For example, see your dentist at least once during pregnancy. The dentist will need to know that you’re pregnant so they can keep that in consideration when prescribing x-rays or special toothpastes.
Keeping up with cleanings helps to remove bacteria that can contribute to the formation of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Even x-rays may be acceptable, although it’s important for your dentist to be aware that you’re pregnant before deciding whether x-rays are necessary.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Toothaches During Pregnancy
Seeing the dentist can help you avoid toothaches during pregnancy. In addition, there are other things you can do to avoid dental discomfort.
- Drink water after vomiting. If you’re experiencing nausea and vomiting due to your pregnancy, the stomach acid could damage your teeth and gums. Clean your teeth after vomiting by swishing water in your mouth and drinking water.
- Limit sugars and carbs. Sugars and carbs can cause tooth decay. Do what you can to limit your intake of sugars and carbs, and if you do eat sugary foods, brush your teeth after.
Keep Your Dentist Informed
Talk to your dentist about your symptoms and ask your dentist any questions you might have. Once your dentist knows you’re pregnant, he or she can help you understand the changes that your body is going through, and may recommend some solutions to your dental hygiene problems.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.