Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Understandably, you might have a list of things you want to do before the baby arrives, like getting your teeth whitened. However, teeth whitening whilst pregnant might not be the best idea. Associated risks to a developing foetus appear to be extremely small but most women would prefer not to take the risk and instead wait until after the baby has arrived.
The information on teeth whitening in pregnancy is still very new but this is what is known:
The American Pregnancy Association recommends that any cosmetic treatments that are not immediately necessary should be postponed until after the baby arrives. The American Dental Association agrees, stating that due to the unknown but potential safety concerns related to the bleaching chemicals, pregnant women should delay any teeth whitening until after the baby arrives, to eliminate any potential risk.
There is nothing to stop you from discussing your options with your dentist now and having a treatment plan all ready to go for when you decide to start. You can also use this time to research the different methods of teeth whitening and seek advice as to which will work best for you.
Oral health changes in pregnancy
Bleaching chemicals aside, pregnancy itself can actually prompt a number of oral health effects. These can all be managed well by your dentist but it would seem sensible not to start whitening your teeth when the pregnancy and all of the associated bodily changes, may affect your teeth too.
During pregnancy, the following could occur:
- Tooth erosion due to the increase in the acidity of saliva caused by morning sickness
- Cravings for sugary foods could cause cavities
- Hormonal changes can cause round growths on the gums, called Pyogenic granulomas
- Swollen or bleeding gums could be cause by hormonal changes during pregnancy
Make sure you speak to your dentist if you start to develop any of these conditions or any discomfort. Of course, if you need to have dental treatment for dental pain or damage during pregnancy, then this is deemed necessary and it’s safe to proceed. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that wherever possible, treatment occurs during the second trimester because by the third trimester it will be difficult to lie comfortably in the dentist’s chair for extended periods.
Looking after your teeth and mouth during pregnancy
There are many things you can do before and during pregnancy to ensure your teeth and oral health are well looked after. Some steps include:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Limiting snacks and sugary foods and drinks
- Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing every day
Continue to visit your dentist for regular checkups before and during your pregnancy
Speak to your dentist about your pregnancy to ensure your oral health is being well maintained. Ideally, postponing any cosmetic procedures, such as whitening, and keeping on top of your oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy, will ensure that you can focus on welcoming your new baby.