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Who doesn’t want a beautiful smile? Even better, who doesn’t want a smile that radiates all those “glowy” hormones we’re said to have while pregnant? Especially when you might not be feeling the best every day of the long 9 months. However, if you’re thinking of brightening your smile to brighten your days while pregnant there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you don’t put your baby or your oral health at risk.

Can you whiten teeth while pregnant?

That’s the big question and the reason you’re here! While there is no overwhelming evidence to suggest that there is a problem with whitening your teeth during pregnancy, the American Dental Association suggests deferring tooth whitening.  That said, we always encourage you to discuss whitening options with your dentist whether you’re pregnant or not. This allows you to work together to achieve your smile goals while agreeing on a treatment timeline that works for you. You can also use your consultation to discuss different methods used for teeth whitening and seek further education, information and advice on what will work best for your individual situation.

Should I be worried about my oral health during pregnancy?

We encourage you to speak with your dentist when it comes to concerns about pregnancy & oral health, especially if you notice any changes after falling pregnant. Everyone’s body responds differently to the influx of hormones that comes with pregnancy, so it’s better to ensure you’re paying attention to any changes taking place and seeking appropriate advice. In terms of what to look for when it comes to oral health during pregnancy, below are a few conditions you may experience:

  • Gingivitis or swollen and bleeding gums aggravated by 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; and
  • Pyogenic granulomas, which are round growths on the gums due to hormonal changes.

Boosting your dental health during pregnancy

There are of course many things you can do before and during pregnancy to boost your dental health and prevent possible problems. Why not consider some of these suggestions before jumping straight to teeth whitening treatments:

  • Brush after every meal, for at least two minutes each time with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste (just remember to spit the toothpaste out and not swallow it);
  • Flossing daily to remove plaque and food debris;
  • Eat a balanced diet, limiting processed snacks and avoiding sugary drinks and foods;
  • Maintain a schedule of regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy for professional cleanings and assessments;
  • Protect your teeth by rinsing with a mixture of baking soda and warm water to neutralize any stomach acids if you are experiencing morning sickness; and
  • Follow any home care recommendations or required treatments, your dentist may suggest, such as an antibacterial mouth rinse.

As always, it’s best to consult with your dentist about what to expect during pregnancy to ensure your oral health stays on track. By postponing elective treatments such as teeth whitening during pregnancy and making a determined effort towards your oral hygiene, you can on your pregnancy and the excitement of welcoming a new family member.