The Ugly truth about toothache in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a period of beautiful expectation and you want to ensure you are doing everything right, to ensure the safe arrival of your healthy baby. You endure all the stages including the morning sickness which some have at night. While your body is going through all these hormonal changes, it is important that you take proper care of your dental health. The popular opinion is that toothache is awful, now imagine having toothache and morning sickness (Now that’s hell!)

What causes toothache in Pregnancy? 

With all the drama associated with pregnancy, toothache is usually quite unexpected but very common. This can worsen the normal discomfort associated with pregnancy. Toothache could be from the gum or the tooth itself. One of the causes is the reduced immune system associated with pregnancy. If there was an existing asymptomatic cavity, pregnancy can cause an exacerbation.

During pregnancy, there is an increase in oestrogen and progesterone hormone. These hormones have been associated with increase plaque production (pregnancy is about increase!). Increased plaque production can irritate the the gum to cause bleeding and  redness referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. This increased plaque production can also cause a swelling called pregnancy tumour (it’s not cancer, it is very common and it will be all gone once irritant is removed or after giving birth),

Excessive craving of sugary food without proper oral hygiene can lead to cavity formation, causing toothache. Furthermore, if you have severe form of morning sickness or acid reflux. This can cause chemical wear on the teeth, leading to teeth sensitivity, a severe discomfort that most classify as pain.

How do you treat toothache in pregnancy?

Firstly, you all know I am an advocate of prevention over cure. So to prevent this unwanted toothache reduce the intake of sugary foods, rinse the mouth with water after vomiting and lastly, let your dentist be aware early of your pregnancy. The dentist will be able to schedule cleaning regularly to help with the increased plaque production and also know what procedure to avoid particularly in the first trimester.  Procedures like x-ray taking, extraction and amalgam filling are usually delayed till baby is born. We all want the baby safe. 

Unfortunately, if you do have this toothache during pregnancy, the things to do include: 
  • Visit your dentist to catch up on your cleaning or get other specific treatment. 
  • You can rinse your mouth with warm salt and water solution (one levelled tea spoon of salt to a cup of warm water) to provide soothing relief
  • Cold compress can be placed on the cheek around swollen gum to reduce the inflammation
  • Avoid using mouthwashes that contains alcohol
  • Avoid smoking, it will only worsen a gum infection
  • Ensure good oral hygiene measures by brushing twice daily using medium-textured toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste with the ideal brushing technique. Also floss at least once daily.
On the bright side, pregnancy only last nine months and most pregnancy-induced teeth problem tend to resolve after giving birth, when the hormones are back to normal.

The Naija Dentist