Is a Toothache a Sign Of Early Pregnancy?

Hand written by Dr David Chen, an actively practicing dentist and avid writer. #doctorswrite

You may be surprised to learn that many women don’t even realize that they’re even pregnant. To be precise, approximately one in three don’t know that they’re pregnant until after six weeks of gestation! That is of course according to ANSIRH, which is a part of UCSF’s OBGYN and reproductive sciences’ department.


Perhaps there can be earlier signs which can inform a woman that they may potentially 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. That can affect the growth of certain bacterial strains and consequently change the balance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth. If the scales start tipping towards increasing levels of bad bacteria, that will make you more prone to gum disease.

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, they’re all changes of your gingiva or gums and it is all from the hormones going haywired from being pregnant.

How we like to describe it

We believe that one of the best ways to describe it in a way that you understand 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 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 may be a sign of pregnancy but it is not an EARLY sign of it. Based on all of the research articles presented above, the effects or conditions which develop are a result of an elevation of hormones.

The hormones don’t get elevated immediately because it takes time for them to start working. It also 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 that time, most women already know that they’re pregnant. They don’t need to use having a toothache as an early sign of being pregnant. They are already well aware that they’re carrying a human inside of them.

Based upon what we know, we would have to classify any type of tooth pain or dental pain 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.

Here is a list by the NHS of some other early signs to look for:

  • 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 tumors. However, the time it takes for those symptoms to show up is usually much later in 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 it. It is more like a mid-late sign of being pregnant but most women would already know that they are carrying a child.

In other words, it is not a very useful indicator of determining if you’re pregnant or not. For instance, 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 of all time is actually a missed period. If you notice that, you should be very suspicious.


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The purpose of the content at afterva is to encourage you to seek in person care with a doctor. It's not nor was it ever meant to be a substitute for medical advice. Every situation is unique and impossible to diagnose without a clinical exam.

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