Pregnancy comes with many new experiences, emotions, and potentially uncomfortable side effects for some expectant mothers. One concern for soon-to-be moms is toothache during pregnancy. Yes, if you’re pregnant, toothaches can be even more uncomfortable than usual. Not only do they make it difficult to go through your day-to-day activities, but they can also be quite frightening, as they may indicate potentially serious oral health issues. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to relieve the pain and manage your toothache while pregnant.
Identifying the Source of Your Toothache
The most important step in managing a toothache is identifying the source. A toothache can be caused by anything from an infection to a traumatic event, like a blow to the face or biting down on something hard. For this reason, it’s important that you visit your dentist so that any potential problems can be identified and managed professionally.
Causes of Toothache when Pregnant
As your baby develops in the womb, your hormone levels increase, which can lead to tooth pain and other concerning dental symptoms, such as:
- Plaque buildup – Your body’s natural response to fighting off plaque fluctuates during pregnancy, mostly due to hormonal changes. If left untreated, plaque can continue to accumulate, eventually hardening into tartar and increasing your risk of tooth decay.
- Morning sickness – During the initial trimesters of pregnancy, vomiting is often a common occurrence for most women. Therefore, brushing with an acid-neutralizing toothpaste is important to effectively and safely eliminate stomach acids that can contribute to tooth erosion. Otherwise, your enamel begins to weaken, opening the doorway for further tooth pain when pregnant due to sensitivity and cavities.
- Gum disease – Because of hormonal changes, most women are more susceptible to contracting gingivitis during pregnancy, leaving gums sore, tender, and vulnerable to more severe issues down the road.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is key for managing a toothache while pregnant. Brush and floss twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and swish with an antibacterial mouthwash throughout the day if possible. Be sure not to ignore any areas of sensitivity or pain when brushing or flossing – focus extra attention on those areas instead, as they are likely what is causing the discomfort. This will help remove any food particles that might have gotten stuck in between teeth which could also contribute to your discomfort.
Treatments for Toothache when Pregnant
Although at-home treatment options are available, the safest and most effective solution to dealing with a toothache during pregnancy is to see your dentist or dental hygienist. Most common dental procedures, such as professional cleaning, are perfectly safe for both the mother and fetus. Simply let your dental professional know you’re expecting, and he or she will take extra precautions during treatment.
There are a number of home remedies you can try to help alleviate toothache pain during pregnancy. A common remedy uses baking soda, as the ingredient helps neutralize acids to prevent decay and bacteria. However, avoid brushing too harshly with baking soda, as it can strip away your enamel. Additional at-home methods include:
- Aloe Vera: Known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, the plant can help reduce bacterial growth and lessen any gum swelling you may experience during pregnancy.
- Milk: Calcium and Vitamin K, both found in milk, are essential for gum health. Drink warm milk a couple of times a day to help reduce gum bleeding and inflammation, but be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, as milk tends to increase plaque formation.
- Pomegranate: Pomegranate is filled with antioxidants that can help combat infection and loosen any debris lodged in the area around the affected tooth. Effective as a preventative measure, pomegranate juice can help fight plaque buildup and bacterial infections. Be sure to drink or rinse with sugar-free pomegranate juice.
- Garlic: Applying garlic directly to the area that’s causing your tooth pain can significantly lessen discomfort. Since it contains allicin, garlic is known to be a natural antibiotic, killing bacteria around the infected areas without any side effects.
- Clove: Clove oil has long been used as a natural remedy for tooth pain, thanks to its active ingredient, eugenol. Eugenol is an analgesic that can help reduce inflammation and provide quick relief from pain and discomfort. When applied directly to the affected area of your mouth or gum line, it numbs the area and helps mask any odours caused by an infection. To use clove oil to relieve dental pain, mix five drops with one teaspoon of coconut oil and swish around your mouth for several minutes before spitting out. Using a cotton swab, you may even want to apply some directly onto your gum line near the sore tooth. This should provide quick and effective relief from any discomfort you’re experiencing.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is a natural remedy that has been around for centuries. It is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative treatment for various ailments, including toothaches. This essential oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to Australia. When it comes to toothache relief, tea tree oil can be used in two different ways – as an antiseptic or an analgesic. As an antiseptic, it helps to reduce inflammation from tooth decay and kills germs that might be causing the infection. It also acts as an analgesic by blocking pain signals sent to your brain and numbing the area around the sore tooth.
If you experience pain while brushing or flossing, try using an over-the-counter numbing gel before you begin cleaning around the area of discomfort. Additionally, several home remedies can temporarily relieve dental pain while pregnant. It’s important to note that these home remedies should only ever be used as temporary solutions until you have seen a dentist for proper treatment — never rely solely on home remedies for long-term relief from dental discomfort!
Seeing Your Dentist Regularly
It’s essential for pregnant women to see their dentist regularly even if they aren’t experiencing any dental issues; this is especially true if any form of dental treatment has already been prescribed due to a chronic condition such as gum disease or cavities. Staying up-to-date with regular checkups helps ensure that any potential dental issues are caught early and treated properly so that they don’t escalate into more serious conditions while you’re expecting.
Toothache Prevention While Pregnant
Making a few simple switches to your daily oral care routine and paying special attention to your oral health can help keep decay and tooth pain at bay.
- Brush twice a day with a toothpaste specially formulated to relieve the pain caused by tooth and gum sensitivity, such as Crest Pro-Health, while ensuring enamel protection.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean off plaque buildup, or switch to an electric toothbrush with a sensitivity mode for a more effective clean.
- Rinse with a mouthwash designed to reduce the early signs of gum disease, like Crest Gum Care to better alleviate bleeding gums.
- Be sure to floss at least once daily to remove harmful bacteria and plaque buildup.
- Maintain a healthy diet composed of vegetables, fruit, dairy, and whole grains. Avoid foods that cause an increase in plaque bacteria, such as candy, cakes, and dried fruits.
- Keeping up with your dental appointments, checkups, and professional cleanings is essential in ensuring your smile stays healthy and pain-free during pregnancy. Most common dental procedures, such as professional cleaning, are perfectly safe for both the mother and fetus. Simply let your dental professional know you’re expecting, and he or she will take the necessary precautions during treatment.
In conclusion, managing a toothache while pregnant requires professional care from your dentist combined with thoughtful self-care at home, such as brushing and flossing regularly with fluoride toothpaste and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash when possible. Additionally, certain home remedies may provide temporary relief but should never be relied upon exclusively without consulting your dentist if necessary!