Your body changes during pregnancy and the changes can affect body parts you wouldn’t expect, including your teeth. Even your choppers may feel some discomfort. Sensitive teeth during pregnancy are par for the course for some women. Although not all women deal with this issue, it’s relatively common.
What causes sensitive teeth during pregnancy? As with most things pregnancy-related, hormones play a role. Hormonal changes that go along with pregnancy alter the bacteria in your mouth and your body’s ability to deal with them. Plus, the hormonal changes increase blood flow to your gums. This can make your teeth and gums feel more sensitive.
While sensitive teeth may be just a nuisance, tooth and gum sensitivity can also be a sign of gum disease, also known as gingivitis. The problem with gum disease is it’s been linked in some studies with preterm labor and delivery of a low birthweight baby. So, sensitive teeth may be more than another pregnancy nuisance – it could be a sign of gum disease that impacts your pregnancy.
When are sensitive teeth most likely to show up? Gum changes and tooth sensitivity often appear toward the end of the first trimester or early in the second trimester of pregnancy, although you can experience it at any time. Sensitive teeth and gums often resolves after delivery, although they may persist if you have significant gum disease. When you have gum disease, the gums become inflamed and the inflammation causes the gum tissue to recede and the sensitive roots of your teeth to be exposed. If you don’t treat it, it can eventually affect the underlying bones.
One word of caution – if only a single tooth is sensitive, you may have a cavity that’s made its way into the deeper layer of the tooth called the dentin. If you ignore it, it may abscess. See your dentist.
What can you do to ease the discomfort of sensitive teeth?
- Visit your dentist to make sure you don’t have gum disease that needs treatment. Be sure to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. A toothbrush with hard bristles can worsen the discomfort and, over time, cause your gums to recede. Receding gums are a common cause of sensitive teeth.
- Avoid eating foods and drinking beverages that worsen the discomfort. Common triggers of tooth and gum discomfort are hot or cold beverages and foods and beverages that are high in sugar.
- Practice good dental care. Brush your teeth twice a day and don’t skimp on flossing. Brushing alone doesn’t effectively remove plaque and debris between your teeth.
- Use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
- If you can’t brush after a meal, rinse your mouth out with warm water.
- Avoid eating acidic foods that can damage the protective enamel that covers your teeth.
- If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard.
The Bottom Line
Sensitive teeth during pregnancy is common but it can also be a sign of gum disease. Just to be safe, see your dentist.
WebMD. “What Can You Do about Sensitive Teeth?”
Colgate.com. “Sensitive Teeth During Pregnancy: What To Expect And How To Cope”
J Clin Periodontol. 2005 Feb;32(2):174-81.
Can pregnancy affect your teeth and gums? Yes! In fact, sensitive teeth during pregnancy is relatively common. In this article, you’ll learn why your teeth and gums become sensitive and what you can do about it.