Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy: How Care for Your Teeth

Oral health can be affected by the vomiting and nausea of pregnancy. Oral hygiene is key to prevention. Here's how to care for your teeth.
Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy: How Care for Your Teeth
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Written and verified by the dentist Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 19 December, 2022

Nausea and vomiting are fairly common occurrences in pregnancy and can affect oral health. Hormonal changes and increased sensitivity to strong smells and tastes favor the appearance of these uncomfortable symptoms, which can even occur before pregnancy’s confirmed. For this reason, it’s crucial to take special care to prevent inconveniences. Keep reading to learn how to take care of your teeth during this stage.

Nausea, vomiting, and dental health during pregnancy

During pregnancy, about 80% of women suffer from nausea and vomiting in their first trimester of pregnancy. The cause of these symptoms is unknown, but they could be associated with hormonal changes or low blood sugar levels, and they affect a woman’s teeth. Let’s see how.

The presence of acid in the oral cavity

Vomiting and gastric reflux generate a very acidic environment throughout the oral cavity. This decrease in salivary pH is capable of eroding and demineralizing the teeth. This situation favors the appearance of cavities.

Neglect of dental hygiene

In the case of nausea, the sensation of disgust makes proper oral hygiene difficult. In order to avoid discomfort, it’s common for pregnant women to neglect their oral hygiene. For example, they may avoid reaching the back part of the mouth with the toothbrush, they may not use toothpaste because they can’t stand its flavor, or they may stop brushing their teeth altogether. As a result, a lot of bacterial plaque and tartar accumulate, causing problems in the teeth and gums.

Lower saliva production

In many pregnant women, it’s also common for there to be a lower production and secretion of saliva, resulting in xerostomia or dry mouth. This liquid fulfills cleaning functions and neutralizes the acidity of the oral environment. Cavities, enamel erosion, and tooth sensitivity are common problems.

A pregnant woman knealing over a toilet.
As the amount of saliva decreases and the acidity of the mouth increases as a result of vomiting, the teeth of pregnant women are at great risk.

Tips to protect the teeth from the effects of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

With a few simple measures, it’s possible to prevent the teeth from suffering the effects of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Some of them aim to reduce these uncomfortable and harmful symptoms for the mouth, while others protect the dental structures. We’ll tell you about them in detail.

Taking care of your oral health

One of the strategies is to maximize oral hygiene. Although the taste of toothpaste or the contact of the toothbrush with the mouth can trigger symptoms, it’s crucial to look for alternatives so as not to neglect hygiene to care for your teeth.

Brush your teeth 2 or 3 times a day

Ideally, you should brush your teeth and gums with a soft bristle brush 2 or 3 times a day. Also, floss daily and supplement hygiene with fluoride toothpaste.

Use a toothbrush without toothpaste

If the taste of toothpaste increases the feeling of disgust and causes more nausea, try other flavors. If all products are repulsive, continue brushing without toothpaste for a while until the symptoms subside.

The contact of the bristles with the teeth can also be a trigger for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, especially when cleaning the back of the teeth. In such cases, hygiene with a small brush head or using an electric toothbrush may be the solution.

Chewing sugarless gum

In the case that you’re truly unable to brush, you can chew sugarless gum after meals. This stimulates salivation and prevents excessive acidity in the mouth.

A pregnant woman visiting the dentist.
Regular visits to the dentist are key to ensuring good oral health. In addition, if there are any problems, the professional can take the necessary measures to protect your mouth.

Visiting the dentist

To take care of your teeth during pregnancy, it’s also important to have dental checkups. The professional can apply special preventive measures to protect the teeth and prevent their deterioration at this stage.

Prevent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

Although nausea and vomiting in pregnancy will often be unavoidable, there are certain measures that help to make them milder and less frequent:

  • Eating before getting up: If vomiting occurs in the morning, eating a snack before getting out of bed and waiting a moment to get up may help.
  • Eat frequent, small meals: Ideally, eat small portions of fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or cheese throughout the day. Also, eat something before you start to feel hungry.
  • Avoid coffee, tea, and high-fat and spicy foods. Also, it’s better to discard those foods with very strong smells or that produce a particular repulsion.
  • Hydrate with refreshing drinks: Mixing cold water with pieces of lemon or ginger can alleviate nausea.
  • Relax: Taking deep breaths, closing your eyes, and trying to calm down helps to avoid vomiting and nausea.

A time to be patient

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can not only cause damage to your teeth but also create a lot of discomfort. However, you should know that, in most women, these are temporary symptoms that diminish as the pregnancy progresses.

Being calm and patient will help you cope with these uncomfortable moments. In addition, if you take care of your mouth as much as possible, you’ll reduce the risk of your teeth suffering the negative consequences that we’ve told you about here.

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The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.