Everyone wants a whiter, brighter smile, but undergoing teeth whitening procedures may not be the best idea for an expectant mother. Although the associated risks to a developing fetus may be extremely small, why take those risks at all? Here are the facts on teeth whitening when pregnant.
Teeth Whitening When Pregnant: Is It Safe?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, cosmetic treatments that are not immediately necessary, such as teeth whitening, should be postponed until after delivery. The American Dental Association (ADA) agrees, stating that pregnant women should delay any teeth whitening procedures due to the potential safety concerns regarding bleaching materials. Discuss your whitening options with your dentist and agree on a treatment timeline that works for you. Also, consider the different methods of teeth whitening and ask for advice on what will work best for your individual situation.
Pregnancy involves many bodily changes and can have a number of effects on your oral health, all of which can be managed with the help of your dentist. According to the ADA, these may include:
- Swollen or tender grums, aggravated by inadequate home care and hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Tooth erosion related to an increase in the acidity of saliva caused by morning sickness
- Cavities due to cravings for sugary foods
- Pyogenic granulomas, which are round growths on the gums due to hormonal changes
Talk to your dentist about your treatment options if you suspect that you may be experiencing any of these conditions. If you need more extensive dental work while pregnant, the American Pregnancy Association recommends having treatment during the second trimester. This is because, by the time you reach the third trimester, it may be difficult for you to lie on your back for an extended period of time.
There are many things you can do before and during pregnancy to preserve your dental health and prevent related problems. The ADA outlines the steps an expectant mother can take to ensure a healthy mouth during pregnancy. Some of these include:
- Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily to remove plaque and food debris
- Eating a balanced diet, limiting snacks and avoiding sugary drinks and foods
- Maintaining a schedule of regular dental check-ups before and during pregnancy for professional cleanings and assessments
- Protecting your teeth by rinsing with a mixture of baking soda and warm water to neutralise any stomach acids if you are experiencing morning sickness
- Following any home care recommendations or required treatments your dentist may suggest, such as an antibacterial mouth rinse
Consulting with your dentist about what to expect during pregnancy to make sure your oral health is in check.
By postponing elective treatments such as teeth whitening when pregnant and being meticulous with your oral hygiene, you can keep your focus on your pregnancy and the excitement of welcoming a newborn into your family — and not on untimely dental problems.
The above information is provided for informational purposes only. Colgate does not accept any liability should the above recommendations have an outcome contrary to the intended result. Always seek the advice of a qualified doctor or dental professional. Do not disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.