What To Do About Toothaches During Pregnancy
Toothaches are common problems for nearly everyone, but especially for women who are pregnant. A number of physiological changes make pregnant women more vulnerable to toothaches and other oral health problems. Fortunately, women can take steps to address their toothaches, and they can even take steps to reduce their risk for developing toothaches during pregnancy.
How Pregnancy can Cause Toothaches and Other Oral Health Problems
Changes in hormone levels can lead to the buildup of plaque and other acids in your mouth, which can decay your teeth. Vomiting from morning sickness during the first few months of pregnancy can leave harmful bacteria and acids in your mouth; left in place, the bacteria and acids can cause decay and toothaches.
Bacteria and acids can also cause gingivitis, a type of gum disease that causes redness, inflammation, tenderness, and pain of your gum line. Caused by a lack of brushing and flossing, gingivitis can even lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious type of gum disease that can cause substantial damage to your teeth and gums. Gingivitis can also cause you to lose your teeth. While you can address gingivitis at home, you will need a professional dental cleaning to treat periodontitis.
Clearly, it is essential to take care of your oral health during the beginning of pregnancy.
I’m Pregnant and have a Toothache – What Should I do?
Visit your dentist
If you are pregnant and your toothaches are causing discomfort, your best option is to see your dentist. In cases in which gingivitis or periodontitis is causing your toothache, a professional dental cleaning can alleviate the discomfort. If you have tooth decay, you may need a filling. Be sure to tell them that you are expecting, so that they may take any special precautions necessary to ensure that your dental care and professional cleaning is safe for both you and your child.
Take care of it at home
You can take steps to care for your toothache at home. You can brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with baking soda, for example, as baking soda has an alkaline pH that helps neutralize the acids in your mouth. When brushing with baking soda, make sure you do not scrub too hard, as baking soda can damage or even strip your tooth enamel.
Other home alternatives for treating toothaches during pregnancy include:
Acetaminophen, sold under the brand name Tylenol and others, is an over-the-counter pain reliever. This analgesic works by blocking your brain from releasing compounds that cause pain.
It is best to avoid anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, as these non-prescription painkillers can have lasting effects on your baby.
Salt water rinses
Salt water is a great way to clean your mouth and is easily found in most homes. Gargling with salt water can gently remove food particles or debris that are stuck between your teeth. Salt water is also a natural antibacterial agent, so it can kill off the bacteria that cause your toothache. For best results for temporary pain relief, use warm water for your salt water rinses.
Ask your doctor for other remedies/drugs that you can use to safely reduce the discomfort of a toothache.
Prevention of Toothaches during Pregnancy
While you can treat a toothache during pregnancy at home, it is always best to prevent toothaches before they start.
Keep up with your appointments
Keeping up with your dental appointments is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent toothaches during pregnancy – and at every stage in life. During your dental appointments, your dental team examines your mouth to early spot signs of gum infections, tooth decay, and other issues that may cause toothaches in your future.
Maintain a healthy diet
Certain foods support the buildup of plaque, which means they increase your risk for toothaches. Sugary and starchy foods can contribute to plaque, for example.
Some crunchy foods, such as apples and granola, can scrape off the plaque that leads to gum disease, tooth decay, and toothaches. Many of these foods are also good for your overall health.
Drink enough water
Water swishes away food debris and bacteria. Drinking water also keeps your body working efficiently to fight off the infections and inflammation that can cause toothaches.
For more information about toothaches during pregnancy, consult with your dentist. Your dental team can also give you more hints and tips for avoiding toothaches during your pregnancy.
Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are 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 & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.