Sensitive teeth are rarely a sign of something serious, but they can be painful and distracting. When your teeth are sensitive, it can be difficult to eat hot foods or drink chilled drinks.
Nerve exposure, enamel damage and gum disease can all cause sensitive teeth - but can sensitive teeth be a sign of pregnancy?
The answer is yes - the changes a pregnant woman's body experiences can cause tooth sensitivity.
Can Early Pregnancy Affect your Teeth?
Yes, early pregnancy can affect your teeth. The rush of hormones experienced at the beginning of the first trimester can cause the gums to swell, leading to painful or sensitive teeth.
In fact, pregnant women are more likely to need dental treatment because of this pain or discomfort they may experience.
If you want to find out whether your sensitive teeth are a pregnancy symptom, take a pregnancy test. If your test comes back positive, you can be pretty certain that your teeth and pregnancy are linked. However, you might want to pay a visit to your dentist to be sure.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth in Early Pregnancy?
There are several causes of sensitive teeth in early pregnancy. The first, as we've discussed earlier, is hormonal changes. These changes account for lots of unusual or unexpected feelings and sensations in the body, and each woman is unique in what they may experience. Amongst your early pregnancy symptoms, sensitive teeth may be one of the most unpleasant.
You're more susceptible to gum disease and sensitive teeth if you're a pregnant woman, because your body reacts differently to bacteria. This can result in a buildup of plaque, potentially damaging your teeth.
Another cause of sensitive teeth in early pregnancy is linked to another of the most unpleasant symptoms, if not the least pleasant at all: morning sickness.
Morning sickness is very common - it's thought that up to 8 out of 10 women experience nausea or sickness during their first trimester. Morning sickness doesn't only happen in the morning, either. Some women are sick all day, while others only experience symptoms in the evening.
Morning sickness exposes your teeth to stomach acid, which can wear away at the enamel over time. This can damage the teeth, causing sensitivity and soreness. It's wise to seek advice from your dentist if you're experiencing morning sickness during pregnancy and want to protect your teeth.
Is General Mouth Sensitivity a Sign of Pregnancy?
While sensitive teeth is the most common pregnancy symptom, some pregnant women have reported experiencing sensitivity in their gums, and even their tongue and mouth overall.
Mouth sensitivity is something you may experience in the early stages of pregnancy, and it's generally nothing to be worried about. If your gums are affected, it will give the feeling that your whole mouth is sensitive. You may also have mouth ulcers, another possible first-trimester pregnancy symptom, and this may explain why your tongue and whole mouth feels strange or painful.
If you're dealing with excessive pain that can't be treated with painkillers, speak to your emergency dentist or your OB-GYN, who should be able to offer instant advice or treatment.
How Can I Treat Sensitive Teeth In Pregnancy?
You can treat sensitive teeth using over-the-counter medications and toothpaste, but you may prefer to stick to natural remedies while you're pregnant. Natural remedies are affordable, safe, and widely available. You probably already have the ingredients for many natural sensitive teeth remedies on your cupboards.
Some of the best natural remedies for sensitive teeth are listed below:
Salt water rinse - salt is an antiseptic, and can be used to treat inflamed gums and soothe pain
Honey and warm water - honey is an antibacterial agent and can reduce swelling, pain, sensitivity and inflammation
Turmeric - a popular Indian spice, turmeric contains an active ingredient, curcumin, which has potent anti-inflammatory effects
Green tea - this herbal tea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and can strengthen teeth and reduce sensitivity
Vanilla extract - this unlikely treatment is an antiseptic, and has pain-relieving properties that can be helpful for managing sensitive teeth and gums
Capsaicin - another unusual treatment, capsaicin is a compound found in many hot peppers, like chilli peppers, and can be used as a gel or a mouth rinse for sensitive teeth
Pregnancy is a time of excitement, but for many soon-to-be moms, there are plenty of uncomfortable symptoms to experience, too.
There's no reason to add sensitive teeth to your list of unpleasant pregnancy sensations. Use one of the natural remedies mentioned in this article, or speak to your dentist about their recommended solutions.
Keep in mind that not all dental treatments are safe for pregnant women. Fillings and X-rays, for instance, will usually need to be postponed until after your baby is born.
However, you can still focus on maintaining healthy teeth – and reducing pain and sensitivity – throughout your pregnancy.