Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing dental problems like pregnancy gingivitis (swollen gums) and weaker or more sensitive teeth due to lack of calcium.
Studies show that having dental treatment during pregnancy is safe, as long as you inform your dentist and a few guidelines are followed. However, you can’t always immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist to treat your dental problems, especially a toothache. Most pregnant women are cautious and want to avoid using any heavy duty pain medications as they may have unwanted side effects on the health of the developing baby.
The best thing to do is to prevent dental problems with adequate dental care. Having healthy teeth, and thus avoiding the use of toothache medications, can affect the health of your growing baby too. So you should regularly:
- Brush your teeth
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Brush your teeth for around 2-3 minutes. One and a half minutes on your upper teeth, and one and a half on your lower teeth.
- Brush your tongue as well
- Make sure to go beneath the gumline when flossing the base of each tooth
- When you move from tooth to tooth, make sure to use clean sections of floss
- Visit the dentist
- Have your teeth cleaned regularly
- Your dentist can check if there is a dental problem developing and can prevent it before it turns into a toothache
Aside from visiting your dentist, here are some home remedy options that won’t hurt the fetus and can help manage the pain and ease your discomfort until you can schedule a visit or check-up with your dentist.
The most advisable pain reliever that is available over the counter and is considered safe for pain management is acetaminophen. Acetaminophen should be taken according to the package directions. On a short-term basis, it can relieve pain until you can see your dentist or obstetrician.
Avoid other over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen as they are not considered safe to be taken during pregnancy.
- Chew on a whole clove of garlic
One of the best remedies that is considered safe for pregnant women is garlic. The antiseptic property of the oils released when chewing helps to soothe and ease the pain naturally. Another option is clove oil which you can buy in most medical stores. You can use a cotton ball and soak it in oil and place it over the aching tooth. Take note, however, that the use of too much clove oil can cause nerve damage, so it’s safer to chew on one or two cloves at a time.
Aside from garlic, chewing on some raw onion for around three minutes can help soothe a toothache. Alternatively, if it hurts too much to chew on the onion, a slice can be placed directly on top of the tooth that is affected.
- Spinach leaves
You can chew on fresh spinach leaves or crush the leaves into a paste before applying it directly on the tooth that is the source of the pain.
- Guava leaves
These can also be chewed until the juices are squeezed out and reach the tooth. You can also create a gargling solution by boiling a few leaves, letting it cool, and mixing in a pinch of salt. Gargle using this solution several times.
- Gargling with warm water
This is one of the simplest home remedies. It can soothe the pain of a toothache as well as prevent the spreading of infection. Adding a little salt to lukewarm water can increase its effectiveness.
- Cold compress
You can numb the nerves causing your toothache by using a cold compress. A cold compress can be made by soaking a cloth in ice cold water, then placing it on the outside surface of the painful area. Alternatively, you can also use an ice pack.
- Hot compress
The opposite of a cold compress. A warm compress can be made by soaking a cloth in warm water before applying it to the outside surface of the painful area. This method can help to relieve the toothache pain for a while.
- Topical antiseptic (benzocaine)
A topical antiseptic or cream that contains benzocaine as its main ingredient can be applied on the tooth. You can do this by using a cotton swab to apply the cream. Benzocaine is the same ingredient used in the formula for babies who are teething, so it is safe to use while you are pregnant. Try looking for a gel type of formula in the baby supply aisle of a drug store.
- Avoid eating sugary foods
Not really a home remedy, but if you are pregnant and already experiencing the start of a toothache, you should avoid and limit your intake of sugary foods. Sugar is an agent for increased plaque build-up which can worsen the pain of a toothache.
If the toothache/ the pain doesn’t fade within a day or two…
Make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Though managing the pain can help you delay a visit to the dentist when you’re busy or lack time, a visit is necessary if the pain lasts for more than a day or two. You probably have a dental problem that needs treatment by a dentist for the toothache to go away. These problems can include a cavity or an abscessed tooth.
Make sure to inform your dentist that you’re pregnant and how far along you are in your pregnancy. This way, he’ll make sure to make adjustments to any anesthetic that might be needed in a dental procedure or to use the proper shielding during x-rays to protect the health of your developing baby.