Is a Toothache a Sign Of Early Pregnancy?

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

According to ANSIRH (UCSF’s OBGYN and reproductive sciences’ department) approximately 1 out of 3 women don’t know that they’re pregnant until after 6 weeks of gestation. Perhaps there are earlier signs which can inform a woman that she may be pregnant.


One popular theory is that a toothache could be a sign of early pregnancy but is that true? Could that throbbing tooth pain really be your body’s way of letting you know that you have another human being growing inside of you?

The answer is that it is partially true but also partially false.

Can tooth pain be a sign of pregnancy?

Pain and sensitivity in your teeth can certainly be a sign of pregnancy due to the elevated hormones during gestation.

Most notably, pregnancy can have a significant influence on your gums and periodontal health. The elevated levels of hormones during pregnancy can drastically alter the microbiome of your mouth.

Consequences of elevated hormones during pregnancy:

  • Alter the balance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth.
  • Increased gum bleeding.
  • Body overreacts to plaque and tartar.

In fact, there is a condition that was specifically named for this and it is called pregnancy induced gingivitis. Basically it is a form of gingivitis but it is only caused during pregnancy via elevated levels of hormones.

Here are some of the effects which can be seen from this condition:

  • Loss of surface keratin
  • Hydropic alteration of the stratum spinosum
  • Hyperplasia of the stratum germinativum
  • Inflammatory changes of the lamina propia

In layman’s terms, your gums undergo morphological changes due to the hormones going haywired from being pregnant.

How we like to describe it

We believe that one of the best ways to describe it is that your body overreacts to the plaque and tartar build up due to increased levels of hormones.

You could very well be maintaining the same oral hygiene routine and normally your gums do not become inflamed from this. However since you’re pregnant, the hormones may cause your body to overreact to the plaque that is in your mouth. That will cause the gums to swell up and become inflamed a lot more easily.

If you were not pregnant, that same level of plaque would not have caused any problems at all. However due to the elevation of the hormones, it becomes a completely different situation.

In fact, your body can have such an exaggerated response to the plaque that you can develop what is called a pregnancy tumor. This study showcases a report of the condition. There are photos included in the research article in case you needed visual imagery.

Therefore we would have to say that tooth nerve pain can indeed be a sign of pregnancy since pregnancy gingivitis and tumors are the result of being pregnant. These conditions only happen while you’re carrying another human being in your womb.

But is it a sign of EARLY pregnancy?

A toothache can be a sign of pregnancy but it is not an EARLY sign of pregnancy. Based on all of the research articles presented above, the effects or conditions which develop are as a result of an elevation of hormones.

Why tooth pain is not an early sign of pregnancy:

  • The hormones don’t get elevated immediately because it takes time for them to build up to a sufficient concentration to elicit effects.
  • Therefore it takes time for them to start showing these effects on the body and mouth.
  • In other words, the gingivitis and tumors from being pregnant usually don’t start showing itself until months into the process such as the second or third trimester.

Usually by the time hormones have reached a sufficient level, most women already know that they’re pregnant. They don’t need to rely on having a toothache as an early sign of being pregnant. They are already well aware that they’re carrying a human inside of them.

In summary, any type of tooth pain or dental pain is considered as a mid-late sign of pregnancy rather than an early one.

What are some common signs of early pregnancy?

According to the NHS, the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Alternatively you may have a much lighter period with only some spots. They say that not everyone may even notice this.

Early signs of pregnancy as per NHS:

  • Morning sickness. Usually when you wake up but can happen at any time of the day. It makes you nauseous and feel like vomiting. This can start around the 4-6 week mark.
  • Feeling tired. The hormonal changes can make you tired and emotional especially in the first 12 weeks.
  • Sore breasts. They may enlarge in size and even feel tingly.
  • Frequent urination. Feeling the need to pee more such as at nighttime.
  • Altered taste. You may lose interest in foods that you use to like.
  • Sensitive smell. Heightened sense of smell.
  • Food cravings. You may start wanting certain foods, some of which you’ve never had before.

These are all common signs but just to reiterate, the most reliable early sign is still a missed period.

Unfortunately, the sign of having a toothache was not mentioned even once in the video by all of the doctors. The reason is like we said, it is not an early sign but a mid-late sign! But, do you know what else is also not mentioned which people think could be a sign? TMJ pain.

The Verdict – is tooth pain an early sign of pregnancy?

A toothache is not an early sign of pregnancy but it can be a result of it.

The elevated hormones during the process may lead to gum issues such as gingivitis and pregnancy tumors. However, the time it takes for those symptoms to appear is typically much later during pregnancy such as the second or third trimester.

Therefore, we would have to say that tooth pain is NOT an early sign and definitely not one of the first signs of pregnancy. It is more akin to a mid to late sign of being pregnant but most women would already know that they are carrying a child by then.

Ultimately, a toothache is not a very useful indicator of determining if you’re pregnant or not.

  • If you were having a toothache you should probably schedule an appointment with your dentist and NOT your OBGYN.
  • If you go to your dentist, they would only be able to tell you if you have any problems with your teeth. They wouldn’t be able to tell you if you were pregnant or not.

You would be better off doing an at home pregnancy test or go visit your OBGYN if you did think you were pregnant. They would be able to help you better than your dentist ever could!

Last but not least, rather than using a toothache as a sign, the most reliable indicator is actually a missed period. If you’re late or extremely late on your period, you should be very suspicious.


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