Pregnancy is the most delightful period in a woman's life. It is a thrilling, roller-coaster ride, filled with unexpected highs and lows. It is common to suffer from sensitive teeth during pregnancy. Women who previously never faced any dental issues may become susceptible to sensitive teeth and gums. This is not serious and you can reduce the discomfort by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth During Pregnancy
Teeth sensitivity is a cyclical effect of pregnancy. Let us see, how it sets in.
- Pregnancy sees a surge in the levels of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen, which increase the flow of blood to all parts of the body.
- Increased blood flow to the gums makes them softer and vulnerable to inflammation and swelling, which can cause a feeling of tenderness in the mouth and the teeth to become more sensitive and even hurt.
- This complication can further progress when plaque builds up, rendering gums soft and swollen. Soon, the gums may start bleeding.
- Bleeding gums may result in the loss of the surrounding ligaments. The gum tissue, which covers the roots of the tooth, begins to recede, and that exposes the dentin, the inner layer of the teeth.
- This is followed by exposure of the tooth's nerve center, because dentin is not covered by hard enamel unlike the remaining part of the tooth.
- When you eat anything that's too hot or too cold, it directly affects the tooth, resulting in sharpened sensitivity and pain.
- If not treated in time, the condition can deteriorate further, resulting in periodontal gingivitis. Severe gum infection ruins the surrounding bones and fibers that hold the tooth in place, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can become a major health concern. It puts the pregnant woman at an increased risk of:
- Premature delivery
- Low-weight baby
- Tumors on the gums (pyogenic granulomas)
Treatment for Sensitive Teeth
Keeping up a healthy dental regimen is vital, so you do not succumb to any tooth sensitivity problems in the first place. Visit your dentist when you find out you are pregnant, so he/she can consult you on the best practices to follow, especially if you have faced dental problems in the past. Here are some tips to prevent and treat sensitive teeth.
- Brushing and flossing regularly is of utmost importance. Brush twice a day, even after meals, and do not forget to clean your tongue, so food particles do not get a chance to get stuck and form plaque, one of the main causes of tooth and gum disease.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. As it is, in pregnancy, sensitivity in the gums and teeth is heightened, so it's better to stick to a soft brush and brush gently.
- Apply ice cubes to your gums if you feel a lot of pain in the mouth. The cooling effect of the ice will soothe the discomfort.
- Avoid sugary drinks and food. If at all you crave for something sweet, have it with your meal and ensure you rinse your mouth thoroughly afterwards. Use lukewarm salt water to rinse your mouth.
- See your dentist immediately if you find any signs and symptoms of tooth or gum disease, like hurting or loose teeth, bleeding/swollen gums, soreness and lump in the mouth which makes eating painful, or persistent bad breath.
- Include a lot of dairy products and a variety of healthy foods, which will boost your intake of calcium and vitamins B12, C, and D, crucial for healthy teeth and bones.
- Switch to a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. Use a fluoride toothpaste, it helps to prevent tooth decay.
- Talk to your dentist if you require any extensive dental treatment, such as root canal, teeth whitening, dental X-rays, or any cosmetic procedures. He can advise you on the best time to undergo any such treatment.
So do not worry a lot if you suffer from teeth sensitivity. The good news is that the pain and sensitivity subside after the delivery of the baby. Observe oral hygiene, "brush up" on your dental basics, and you will be on you way to a healthy pregnancy and blessed with a happy baby.