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 undergo changes too.
What does 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
Becoming pregnant can be one way sensitive teeth emerge in women.2 There are a few things that might be causing the newfound symptom often 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 important. A few things can lead to sensitive teeth during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the blood flow to your gum tissue, causing sensitive and swollen gums. Hormonal changes also alter the way your body responds to bacteria, making it easier for plaque to build up 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.5 Since these conditions occur regularly, there’s a chance excessive throwing up can cause an increase in sensitivity.
General causes of tooth sensitivity
For a more general understanding of tooth sensitivity, a number of things can also contribute to increased sensation to cold or hot temperatures and contact with food, brushes or floss. These include:6
- 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 a number of things you can do, including:7
- Careful brushing and flossing twice daily
- Avoiding sugary drinks like sodas or sweet teas
- Replacing unhealthy snacks with vegetables and fruits
- Daily saltwater 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 or discomfort. 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.