During pregnancy, a lot of changes happen inside your body. You get morning sickness, you gain weight, and you become very fatigued. Another most important change that happens inside your pregnant body is an increased likelihood of developing gingivitis (a form of gum inflammation) and an increased chance of getting cavities, causing toothache during pregnancy. While you have a lot of things to think about during pregnancy, the care of your teeth and gums should be near the top of the list. In this article, you will better understand what happens when you get a toothache in pregnancy and how to avoid the difficult problem of bad teeth best during this period.
What Causes Toothache During Pregnancy?
Tooth decay is more prominent in pregnancy as is swelling and inflammation of the gums. Let’s look at some of the causes of toothache in pregnancy so that you can better understand why this happens:
- Dietary changes. You eat differently while you are pregnant. You tend to drink more milk while you are pregnant and you often increase your daily intake of sugar-containing foods. This leads to tooth decay and the need for dental care to manage the cavities you may get.
- Gingivitis in pregnancy. There are changes in the hormonal milieu of the body during pregnancy that results in swelling and inflammation of the gums. This pregnancy-related gingivitis can cause gum infections, tooth disease, and even abscesses in the gums, which are painful when they occur. More than half of all women in pregnancy will develop some degree of pregnancy-related gingivitis. It is just a common phenomenon.
- Morning sickness issues. When you vomit during pregnancy, acid from your stomach can come up from the stomach to the mouth and can bathe the teeth in cavity-inducing acid. This leads to tooth decay and toothache during pregnancy.
- Deficiency of calcium. Women who are pregnant need to take extra calcium throughout the pregnancy to aid in the development of bones in the fetus. Even with supplementation, you often suffer from low calcium content so that the tooth enamel becomes demineralized and painful tooth decay can happen.
- Oral hygiene problems. Women who are pregnant have lots of sensitivities and some become sensitive to the taste and/or smell of toothpaste. As a result, they brush their teeth less, which increases the risk of tooth decay, gingival problems, and toothache.
Should You Treat Toothache During Pregnancy?
Most pregnant women are worried about having their teeth treated during pregnancy. However, doctors and dentists still recommend having any dental problems treated during pregnancy, with some precautions using x-rays and taking medication for toothache pain relief.
- X-Rays During Pregnancy
Many women are concerned about getting any kind of x-ray during pregnancy—even dental x-rays. If you have a toothache during pregnancy, the dentist will try to take care of the problem without doing x-rays if this is possible. If it is necessary to do x-rays to take care of the problem, the dentist will ask you to wear a lead apron and a lead covering over your thyroid gland so that the x-rays do not get to these areas. The x-rays can then be safely done and the dentist will have more information available to help treat your dental problem.
- Medications During Pregnancy
There are a variety of medications available for toothache pain, some of which are not appropriate to be used in pregnancy. For example, research has indicated that taking Percocet or oxycodone during pregnancy can result in unwanted birth defects. Because of issues like this, it is important to tell the dentist that you are pregnant so that safe medications in pregnancy, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used instead. Antibiotics may also be required. Some antibiotics, like penicillin, are safe to take in pregnancy and will be prescribed for you for the management of infections that need antibiotics during pregnancy.
How to Treat Toothache During Pregnancy Naturally
As there are some concerns about taking care of toothaches in pregnancy using conventional dental practices, you may wonder if there are natural things you can try to relieve the toothache pain without harmful x-rays or medications. Some simple remedies are available that are all-natural and can be tried to relieve your toothache safely and naturally. Here are some things to try:
- Hot compresses. Take a hot, damp cloth and apply it to the side of the face where the toothache is occurring. This increases circulation to the affected area and allows your immune system to tackle the source of the pain.
- Cold ice. A cold compress using ice inside a bag can ease the discomfort of an aching tooth. Use ice cold water and soak a clean cloth with it, wring it out and put it on the side of the face. Even a bag of peas or chopped vegetables can be used as an ice pack on your face to numb the nerves that are causing the toothache.
- Cloves. Clove oil or regular cloves can be used in pregnancy to relieve toothache pain. You can simply chew on a clove or put clove oil on a cotton ball, applying directly over the aching tooth. Clove not only alleviates the pain but it is an antiseptic that can relieve some of the infectious symptoms associated with a decayed tooth.
- Garlic. Garlic is an age-old remedy for the treatment of toothache. You can put the crushed garlic clove or chew on a piece of garlic to relieve toothache problems. Garlic contains allicin, which is an antibiotic agent that directly attacks the bacteria causing the tooth infection.
- Onions. Try chewing on a piece of raw onion for a few minutes. This will help alleviate the pain. If chewing is too difficult, put a slice of an onion atop the tooth in order to let the juices relieve the pain.
- Spinach. It turns out that raw spinach leaves can relieve a toothache during pregnancy. Mash some spinach leaves to make a sort of paste or chew directly on the spinach leaves for relief of the pain.
- Guava leaves. The juice from guava leaves can serve as a gargling solution for toothache pain. You can chew directly on the leaves or put the leaves in boiling salted water to make a gargle. Be sure to gargle in such a way that the juices can get deep into the tooth.
- Warm water. This is an extremely simple home remedy. Take a little bit of salt and mix it with lukewarm water. Use it as a gargle or rinse to remove any food particles lodged between your teeth and to relieve the toothache pain.
- Stay away from sugar-containing foods. You should avoid the consumption of foods that are high in sugar when you are pregnant. Sugar contributes to the plaque on teeth that can make the toothache pain worse.
However, if you can prevent the happening of tooth pain during pregnancy, that would be better. So have dental exams regularly and keep good oral hygiene as before to avoid any gum and tooth problems.