Pregnancy is an exciting time! It’s often filled with celebrations seeing friends and family, and lots of big happy smiles. Many expecting mothers are interested in whitening their teeth – it can be nice to treat yourself, after all! – but we hear a common concern. Is a teeth whitening treatment safe during pregnancy?

Dr. Stephen Coates, DDS shares more about teeth whitening, its safety, and how best to care for your smile during pregnancy.

The Teeth Whitening Process

Teeth whitening, or dental bleaching, employs chemicals to remove stains from the teeth. The bleaching product is applied to the surface of the teeth to extract stains in the enamel. Even at-home teeth whitening treatments contain hydrogen peroxide.

Dental Concerns While Pregnant

Oral health issues may arise during pregnancy, including:

  • Gingivitis, which results in swollen and bleeding gums due to hormonal changes
  • Erosion caused by increased acidity due to morning sickness
  • Cavities when you forget to brush and floss, or to wash your mouth with water after sugary foods
  • Pyogenic granulomas, round growths on the gums caused by hormonal changes

Is Teeth Whitening Safe During Pregnancy?

The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women postpone teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatments until after delivery. The American Dental Association suggests the same, noting safety concerns with bleaching agents. Some changes during pregnancy can thwart whitening efforts, including teeth loosening due to increases in estrogen and progesterone, as well as higher levels of plaque due to pregnancy cravings.

Caring for Your Teeth While Pregnant

During pregnancy, it’s essential to care for your teeth to prevent dental issues. Pregnancy often brings on gum bleeding, cavities, enamel erosion, gum tumors, and gingivitis. Make sure that you:

  • Brush at least twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss each day
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and eat snacks in moderation
  • Wash your mouth with water after consuming sugary drinks and snacks
  • Use an antibacterial mouth rinse

While chemical teeth whitening isn’t an option during pregnancy, there are natural alternatives that can help! This includes eating foods that whiten teeth, such as:

1. Strawberries

Smash them, create a paste and apply with your finger. The malic acid will help soften stains, and you can brush the discoloration away.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

The malic acid in apple cider vinegar can help to whiten teeth. Carefully apply to teeth and wait several minutes before brushing.

3. Baking Soda

The abrasive baking soda can remove dental stains. Make a paste with baking soda and water, and brush your teeth gently as you usually would.

4. Regular Dental Cleanings

Although you shouldn’t have your teeth whitened, you should certainly get regular dental cleanings to help prevent periodontal disease.

Schedule Your Dental Check Up Today

Dr. Stephen Coates, DDS, and his team are here to discuss the best dental care during pregnancy and any risks associated with teeth whitening. He suggests postponing elective treatments and following the dental care tips above. Schedule your regular dental checkup and cleaning appointment and learn how to care for your teeth while pregnant today!