Ever wonder if it is safe or not to whiten your teeth while pregnant? Want to make sure you can safely whiten your teeth without impacting your baby? Well, today we will cover all of that and talk about some whitening product choices, like whitening toothpastes, strips, and if you need any office procedures to white your teeth safely while carrying your unborn child.
Why are dental problems common in pregnancy?
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are generally more prone to having oral health problems. That is a result of hormonal changes that the body goes through.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy make your gums more sensitive and increase the risk for tooth sensitivity while pregnant and for the first few months postpartum.
That may lead to soreness and pain in rare cases. Pregnancy gingivitis is also very common with all the hormonal changes that will impact the gum tissue.
Pregnancy dry mouth also poses a high risk for problems such as tooth decay in women. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s very important to take good care of your oral hygiene during breastfeeding months and pregnancy.
During this time, women need to follow some guidelines about healthy habits and foods or drinks they consume.
They need to stop smoking cigarettes before conception.
Alcohol is also prohibited. And they need to limit their caffeine intake. All of these factors can also impact the color of your teeth and the overall health of your pearly whites.
If you are a lactating mother considering doing a teeth whitening procedure we will explore everything you need to know about teeth whitening while breastfeeding.
But before we dive in let us describe first what teeth whitening is.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a procedure that whitens your teeth using a variety of options to give you a brighter smile.
It does that by removing stains from your teeth.
How does teeth whitening happen?
The vast majority of teeth whiteners use peroxide-based chemicals to initiate a couple chemical reactions. That reactions results in breaking down the staining compounds.
You can perform teeth whitening procedures in two different ways.
At the dentist for an in office treatment or at home using an over the counter products and kits for the whitening process.
It is important to note that dentists who can perform professional whitening, use stronger chemicals than the ones used for in-home teeth whitening.
When it comes to whitening your teeth during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, there are different opinions.
And it’s also important to know that there is a lack of studies and research made on this topic.
Why practicing good oral hygiene while breastfeeding is important
As a lactating mother, you know that you need to be very careful about what you eat. The same applies to the chemical compounds you come in contact with. The motherâ€™s body produces milk through the mammary glands.
And thatâ€™s why is very important to be extra careful with what you eat so it does not pass onto the baby through breastfeeding. Caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and nicotine are some of the banned substances known to pass through the motherâ€™s milk onto the baby.
Is it safe?
So, itâ€™s normal that as a breastfeeding mother you ask yourself if the substances used in teeth whitening pass onto the breastmilk or not. Usually, chemicals used in teeth whitening products, like teeth whitening strips, do not pass on to breast milk.
Ultraviolet lights which are used in the dentistâ€™s office by the dental hygienist or dentist, if you choose to get your teeth whitened in a dentistâ€™s office, do not pose a risk to your breast milk, or breast milk production.
When pregnant women whiten their teeth at home, the number of chemicals on the strip that she swallows will be negligible to be absorbed by the bloodstream. It will be metabolized harmlessly and not pose a risk to your baby.
A great number of dentists feel that there is no harm in going for a teeth whitening procedure during breastfeeding months. Because the chemical that is used in teeth whitening is peroxide and it is in such a small amount that it will not have any effect on the babyâ€™s system.
That is because even if the peroxide is present at an undetectable level in the milk, it will not reach the baby thanks to the natural filtering mechanisms.
The active ingredient carbamide peroxide is made of water with an extra atom of oxygen. It should be kept in mind that too much peroxide on gums causes topical irritation. Even when it touches the gums in minimal proportion, it will be metabolized in no time.
Some mothers prefer to use whitening kinds of toothpaste which again should not be used over the limit. When teeth whitening is done in the office, a whitening gel which is hydrogen peroxide as a solution is directly applied to the teeth. Then LED light is applied so that hydrogen peroxide quickly breaks down and releases free radicals.
These then help in removing teeth stains thereby giving whiter teeth to the patient. During this procedure, and similar procedures for teeth whitening, a little peroxide does get swallowed and gets into the blood stream. Many doctors argue that you need to pay attention before embarking on the journey of teeth whitening.
Teeth Whitening Options
Things change daily, so the Dr. Brite Teeth Whitening Pens can make your smile shine without exposing you or your baby to toxic chemicals. How does it work?
The Dr. Brite Teeth Whitening Pens are made with natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, xylitol, and hydrogen peroxide.
Coconut oil helps get rid of plaque buildup on the tooth enamel, thanks to its antimicrobial properties.
Xylitol stops bacteria from sticking to teeth, while hydrogen peroxide is a safe bleaching agent. If you are allergic or have sensitive teeth remember that the Teeth Whitening Pen is also available in a peroxide-free version.
Using a teeth whitening pen is one of the most simple procedures to achieving brighter teeth for a whiter smile.
You can also use whitening strips or a home UV light whitening treatment.
Natural ways to teeth whitening and safe teethwhiteners for breastfeeding moms
Always be sure to consult with your doctor and dentist to discuss your treatment plan options and decide which option will work for you and your specific health history, and pregnancy history.
Teeth Stain Prevention
There are some things you can do to prevent stains.
A sonic toothbrush is also best to ensure a deep clean of your teeth and is helpful in removing surface stains.
Floss twice a day, every day, if you want to dislodge any food or plaque that may discolor teeth.
Avoid the foods and drinks that cause stain on your teeth naturally, like red wine and black coffee or tea.
In conclusion, we can say despite all the different and divided opinions among dentists, the consensus when it comes to teeth whitening during pregnancy and lactation is that the mother should wait.
However, due to a lack of studies performed, there is not any conclusive proof that teeth whitening can be harmful to the mother or the baby.
The precautions are only so you can be on the safe side due to the inconclusive nature of the research on the impacts, if any to the unborn baby.
But, if a mother finds it necessary to whiten her teeth, then she should consult with her doctor first before using any bleaching agents, going through the bleaching process or other ways of whitening your teeth.