How to treat sensitive teeth during your pregnancy

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Careful brushing, avoiding sugary drinks, eating healthy, and saltwater rinses can help reduce tooth sensitivity.

During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes, and discomfort is not uncommon. While we usually think of the body from the neck down as the real area of change during pregnancy, your mouth can change too.

What do sensitive teeth feel like?

Anything from a hot cup of herbal tea to a small scoop of ice cream can send a sensation through the mouth you might have never felt before. Suddenly, hot and cold temperatures feel uncomfortable on your teeth, and in some cases, painful. Having sensitive teeth means that a change to the makeup of the mouth is causing you discomfort around these temperatures, or even brushing and flossing.¹

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Becoming pregnant can be one way sensitive teeth emerge in women.² There are a few things that might be causing the newfound symptom associated with pregnancy, particularly in the second trimester.³

What increases tooth sensitivity while pregnant?

Like any time throughout your life, proper dental care while being pregnant is essential to protecting your teeth and gums. A few things can lead to sensitive teeth during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the blood flow to your gum tissue, causing painful and swollen gums. Hormonal changes also alter the way your body responds to bacteria, making it easier for plaque to grow on your teeth and increasing the risk of developing gum disease or pregnancy gingivitis.⁴

Morning sickness or vomiting can also increase the chance of teeth sensitivity.

General causes of tooth sensitivity

For a more general understanding of tooth sensitivity, several things can also contribute to increased susceptibility to cold or hot temperatures and contact with food, brushes, or floss. These include:⁵

  • Cavities

  • Old and deteriorating fillings

  • Gum disease

  • Poor oral health practices

These general causes of tooth sensitivity can also impact a pregnant person’s mouth, adding to the additional risks of tooth sensitivity during pregnancy.

How to treat sensitive teeth during pregnancy

To treat tooth sensitivity while pregnant, there are many you can do, including:⁶

  • Careful brushing and flossing twice daily

  • Avoiding sugary drinks like sodas or sweet teas

  • Replacing unhealthy snacks with vegetables and fruits

  • Daily salt water rinses

  • Removing all alcohol-based mouthwashes from your oral care routine

Pregnant women have many options to treat their sensitive teeth during pregnancy. Be sure to talk with your dentist if you’re pregnant and experiencing pain. During regular checkups, remember to mention any changes to your physical wellness, including teeth, gums, and oral changes.

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. It is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.


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  3. (Last accessed March 2020)

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