Keeping Teeth White For Nine Months Of Pregnancy: What Are Your Best Options?

While you already have enough to take care of and worry about during pregnancy, your teeth may be a cause for concern at this time, particularly if you're a perfectionist about keeping them their whitest. Here are your best options for teeth whitening when you also have a bun in the oven!

Possible Problems With Your Teeth Due To Pregnancy

While you may not be inclined to relate dental issues to pregnancy, since there's so much going on with your hormones during this time, it can actually affect your teeth. Progesterone, for example, can directly change the amount of blood flowing to your gums, which may make them red, swollen or have a tendency to bleed. Hormones also alter the way your body handles plaque, including the toxins it may contain.

Because of these unique dental issues facing pregnant women, it's important that you coordinate your efforts between your doctor and dentist, making sure that both can tend to your special needs at this time. If you're experiencing excess plaque, you need to brush more often; however, these bodily changes may also mean your teeth aren't going to be as white as you want them to be.

Seeing The Dentist For Whitening While You're Expecting

Despite the fact that there haven't been major issues discovered for women undergoing professional teeth whitening procedures while pregnant, you may wish to hold off on having your dentist perform whitening until after you've had your baby and perhaps finished nursing. If you're just in the planning stages of becoming pregnant, be sure and visit your dentist beforehand, so your teeth can be as white as possible entering into the pregnancy.

Many women simply prefer to take no chances when it comes to their unborn child; thus, they avoid all unnecessary procedures. However, especially since the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can create separate issues for your oral health, it may be a good idea to schedule an extra cleaning or two while you're pregnant. Dental cleanings are one of the best ways to keep your teeth white, along with healthy.

Safe Home Whitening

Whitening your teeth at home may be a safe option for you while you're waiting for your baby to be born, but beware of over-the-counter products, which, although they usually contain weaker strengths than what your dentist would use, have the same active ingredients and in some cases, additional ones you'd probably rather avoid. Your best bet is to avoid the foods and beverages that will really stain your teeth (if cravings permit) and to gently polish your teeth with a safe concoction, such as one of the following:

  • Activated charcoal: This substance may look a mess while on your teeth, but it's actually one of the safest and most effective ways to whiten without the help of a dentist. It may also help to balance the pH levels in your mouth, which will keep it cleaner and healthier. Dip your toothbrush into the charcoal and thoroughly coat all your teeth; brush gently for a few minutes and viola, your teeth are sparkling!
  • Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and mint oil: Since you're not going to swallow the paste you create, you're not going to put your unborn baby at any risk. Simply combine the ingredients to form a paste and apply a few times a month to keep your teeth whiter when you can't get the professional treatment.

Other Considerations

If you have a history of poor oral health, such as chronic gum disease, let your obstetrician know about it. They can request that you get special care from your dentist, along with monitoring you for any infections while pregnant. Periodontal disease may mean you're carrying an active infection, which can potentially harm your baby, so seeing a dentist for treatment is highly recommended. Low-birth-weight and premature birth are associated with gum disease and this is something your OBGYN should follow closely. 

Despite the fact that your baby is the priority for the duration of your pregnancy, you also want to keep yourself in awesome condition, too, and that includes oral care and teeth whitening. Know all your options and stay on top of this important issue as you're not likely to have a lot of time to devote for it once your baby comes into the world.