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Sensitive Teeth During Pregnancy: What To Expect and How To Cope

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

With pregnancy, your body will change in new and surprising ways that require you to make continual adjustments to stay comfortable and happy. Teeth sensitivity is one of many changes that can come with pregnancy. We're here to explain why that's the case, what you can do to reduce it, and what experts are available to help.

Pregnancy Changes

Various factors can lead to an increased risk for oral health concerns while you’re pregnant. Your teeth' sensitivity can be increased by pregnancy both directly and indirectly – your hormone levels are altered, behavior may change, and dental routine may be neglected as you understandably are focused on the health of your baby.

You may experience sensitive teeth during pregnancy due to:

  • Enhanced risk of red or swollen gums and gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis)
  • A heightened inflammatory response to your gums due to hormonal fluctuations
  • Increased blood flow to your gums
  • Dietary changes, like overconsumption of sugary or acidic foods
  • Grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism) from unusual stress
  • Morning sickness or vomiting
  • An improper dental routine

How to Respond

It’s completely natural to focus on your baby’s health and to neglect your own dental routine, stress, or habits as a result. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your health should also be the priority for your own wellbeing and baby. You're working hard and deserve to be as comfortable and healthy as possible during this challenging and unique period of your life.

Some tooth sensitivity experienced during pregnancy may resolve on its own during or after pregnancy. However, it’s still your best bet to practice proper dental care and make changes to your lifestyle to ensure you don’t contribute to other dental problems like gum disease or tooth decay.

The top question on your mind is likely how to treat sensitive teeth during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are powerful steps you can take to reduce sensitivity while looking out for the health of you and your baby.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Cravings can be tough, but it’s a good idea to try to limit or avoid overly sugary or acidic foods and beverages that can contribute to sensitivity.
  • Stress is a given when it comes to pregnancy, so it’s vital to take steps to manage and reduce it. Doing so will help prevent grinding your teeth and make it easier to maintain a healthy diet or a proper oral care routine.
  • Use a straw, so especially hot or cold drinks don’t trigger any temperature sensitivity.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water to avoid dry mouth (also known as xerostomia).
  • Visit your dental professional, OB/GYN, or primary care physician (PCP) for advice on how to reduce your discomfort safely.

Practicing Proper Oral Hygiene:

  • Be sure to brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste not to wear down your enamel. We recommend brushing for two minutes twice daily.
  • If you vomit, it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes to brush. Instead, rinse with water or mouthrinse to help clear out any acid.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day using floss, a flossing device, or an interdental brush. Even if your gums or teeth are uncomfortable, this can help reduce sensitivity in the long run.
  • Use antiseptic mouthrinse to help keep your gums healthy.
  • Consider using desensitizing toothpaste and products that contain fluoride. Fluoride can be found in some toothpaste or mouthwash and most tap water!

Keep in mind that even though pregnancy may be associated with your teeth sensitivity, there may be other underlying causes that you need to address. The only way to be sure is regularly visiting your dental professional (the American Pregnancy Association recommends at least once during your pregnancy). You’ve made an excellent choice to read up on how sensitivity is related to pregnancy and steps you can take to address it.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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