Pregnancy is a beautiful transformative period in life. However, along with it come numerous anxieties about various aspects of life that may affect the baby’s health. Even the most trivial of everyday practices get scrutinised. Good health is paramount in pregnancy – the mom’s and baby’s. Oral care is part of it. Expectant moms should have minimal oral problems to deal with. Teeth whitening during pregnancy has become debatable, with many questioning the safety and potential risks. This article aims to dispel myths surrounding it and offer reliable information to help you make science-backed decisions. Before we begin, let’s understand why maintaining proper dental health during pregnancy is crucial.
Dental health during pregnancy
Numerous misconceptions regarding the safety of dental care during pregnancy have led to pregnant women receiving less dental care. These facts highlight the significance of oral health during pregnancy:
Prevention of Dental Issues
Pregnancy cravings, morning sickness, and hormonal changes can increase the risk of dental issues, such as cavities, tooth erosion and gingivitis. Pregnant women bleed more due to high oestrogen and progesterone, causing them to limit brushing their teeth. As a result, bacterial plaque builds up. Saliva flow also decreases, leading to tooth decay. Therefore, paying extra attention to oral hygiene and teeth during pregnancy is vital. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent and detect these issues early.
Prevention of Gum Disease
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection, leading to a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. Studies found gingivitis in 40% of pregnancies.
- Untreated gum disease can progress to periodontal disease, associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. Research suggests oral infections can lead to an inflammatory response that might trigger premature labour.
- Gum inflammation treated during pregnancy reduces the risk of a baby being born preterm by approximately 50%.
Oral Health Reflects Overall Health
Oral health affects a person’s overall health. Poor oral health can also indicate underlying health issues. Pregnancy can be a vulnerable time, so maintaining oral health is key to improved overall health.
Reducing the Risk of Pregnancy Tumours
Some pregnant women may develop pregnancy tumours or Pyogenic granulomas, which are benign growths on the gums. These can be associated with poor oral hygiene. Maintaining good oral health reduces the risk of developing these growths.
Comfort and Well-Being
Pregnancy can be physically challenging, and oral health issues like cavities can cause discomfort and pain. Maintaining good oral hygiene contributes to the overall well-being and comfort of the expectant mother.
Let’s bust some myths around teeth whitening.
Myth 1 – Cosmetic dental treatments are not safe during pregnancy
It isn’t always the case. Some procedures are pregnancy-safe as long as qualified professionals carry them out in a clinical setting. It is a common misconception that elective dental care poses unnecessary risks. However, many such procedures do not harm the baby in any way.
While ingredients like Botox aren’t safe during pregnancy, cosmetic dental treatments like composite bonding or dental cleaning are safe. Gentler methods and safer ingredients eliminate any health risks. For example, choosing Airflow, which uses water, compressed air, and fine sodium bicarbonate, for hygienist treatment is a lot more comfortable for your teeth. The ingredients pose no threat to health. Dental procedures for a chipped tooth are essential as well as safe.
Myth 2 – DIY teeth whitening methods are safe during pregnancy
There’s no evidence that teeth whitening performed by a qualified dentist will harm the baby. However, DIY teeth whitening products do not come with clinical supervision or personalisation. The composition of ingredients in these kits differs.
- Many OTC teeth whitening products contain chemical ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. During pregnancy, some may experience morning sickness or nausea. Using teeth whitening products with higher concentrations of chemicals could exacerbate these symptoms if ingested.
- Pregnancy hormones can lead to changes in oral health, including increased gum sensitivity and a greater risk of developing gingivitis. DIY teeth whitening products, especially those with abrasive components, may irritate the gums and develop dental issues.
- Without proper guidance, there’s a chance individuals may misuse these products, leading to potential harm or ineffective results.
- Some may be allergic or sensitive to particular ingredients in teeth-whitening products. Allergic reactions during pregnancy can be more severe due to hormonal changes. Therefore, caution is always necessary.
- DIY teeth whitening methods may not provide consistent or satisfactory results, leading to potential disappointment and the temptation to use them more frequently than recommended.
Your dentist and doctor are the best people to determine whether teeth whitening and which of its methods are safer for you. Do not take matters into your own hands with DIY or OTC products during pregnancy.
Myth 3 – Breastfeeding mothers should avoid teeth whitening procedures
The breastfeeding period can be a sensitive one as much as the pregnancy. And moms want to do what’s best for the newborn. Before proceeding with teeth whitening treatment, consult your dentist and inform them that you are breastfeeding. They can assess your oral health and offer guidance on the safest and most appropriate whitening method for your situation. Most whitening agents used in dental clinics are not known to harm nursing infants when used according to the dentist’s instructions.
Tips for maintaining dental health during pregnancy
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste. If you suffer from pregnancy-related oral issues, use the toothpaste prescribed by your dentist.
- Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles.
- Keep sugary foods and drinks and starchy foods to a minimum. Regular dental checkups during pregnancy are crucial for evaluating the effects of pregnancy on your oral health.
- If you experience morning sickness, rinsing your mouth with a mixture of warm water and baking soda can help neutralise stomach acids and protect your teeth.
- It’s also important to follow any at-home care suggestions or treatments recommended by your dentist, which may include using antibacterial mouthwash.
Dental care during pregnancy in Nine Elms
If you are considering teeth whitening in Battersea during your pregnancy, visit Mouth at Nine Elms for resident specialist care and state-of-the-art facilities. We have in-house specialists in Oral Surgery, Endodontics, Periodontics, Pediatrics and Orthodontics. Our Nine Elms, SW11, is the only clinic in the area with a Teaching suite on-site for our colleagues to develop skills and share knowledge. At Mouth, our dentists always put your oral health first to ensure you receive safe and effective remedies. We also use Enlighten, the world’s best-performing teeth whitening system. Are you pregnant and need safe dental care? Book a consultation or dental exam today.