Is it safe to whiten your teeth while breastfeeding? Here’s everything you need to know! Plus tips for pregnant women, too!
If you’re a breastfeeding first time mom, you may wonder if teeth whitening is safe.
After all, everything you put in your body has the potential to pass to your baby.
So, what do you do if you want a brighter smile?
Here’s everything new moms and pregnant women should know about teeth whitening, plus other helpful tips and resources!
What is teeth whitening?
Before we discuss teeth whitening and breastfeeding, it’s important to understand the process and products involved.
Teeth whitening is a simple treatment that uses chemical reactions to achieve whiter teeth. And there are two types of products that may be used: bleaching and non-bleaching.
Bleaching products include the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide.
Peroxide-based ingredients have strong oxidizing properties that correct tooth discoloration.
These bleaching agents work well for surface-level stain removal. And they also remove deeper stains under the tooth enamel that cause our natural teeth to become discolored.
Other non-bleaching teeth whiteners simply remove food and debris from the teeth.
Common Teeth Whitening Products and Methods
You can get professional whitening services from your dentist or licensed estheticians. Or, you can purchases bleaching and whitening products over the counter.
However, the products dentists use have much higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. So, they’re more effective.
Here are some of the most common teeth whitening products and methods.
At the Dentist (or Esthetician)
The whitening process usually starts with a light cleaning. And then they’ll apply a whitening gel to the teeth.
They’ll then focus ultraviolet lights on your teeth to speed up the chemical reaction of the whitening gel ingredients.
Teeth whitening kits that you use at home, may include custom trays for your teeth and an assortment of whitening products.
These may include items like whitening strips, a teeth whitening pen, and whitening toothpaste.
Home kits usually come with instructions for a daily routine. And you should follow these steps until you achieve your desired results, or until you run out of supplies.
Other Methods and Products
Many regular toothpaste products in the supermarket advertise whitening properties that may help to brighten your smile. However, these are usually stain-reducing, rather than truly whitening.
There are also a few controversial home methods that many swear by. But, they may not yield results, and some can actually harm your teeth.
One of those methods is oil pulling. Believers claim that swishing coconut oil in the mouth for extended periods of time can pull bacteria and other contaminants from your teeth, which is likely true.
But, there isn’t scientific evidence to prove that coconut oil improves the color of teeth.
You may also be tempted to try activated charcoal products. But there isn’t much proof that these items whiten teeth either. They may actually cause permanent damage.
These abrasive products may expose the yellow dentin below the tooth enamel, and they may also increase the surface roughness of teeth.
This may also make it easier for bacteria to cling to teeth and cause cavities or tissue damage.
How long does it last?
Teeth naturally yellow over time, so teeth whitening isn’t permanent. However, proper maintenance will prevent premature yellowing.
For best results, practice good oral hygiene.
This includes regular dental appointments, brushing, and flossing. And you can also incorporate safe teeth whitening products into your daily routine.
Can I whiten my teeth while breastfeeding?
As most know, breast milk is produced in the mammary glands. Those glands take essential nutrients and chemicals from the mother’s body for her growing baby.
There are plenty of substances a lactating mother should avoid like nicotine and certain medications.
But, the chemicals used to whiten teeth are just fine!
Teeth whitening is completely safe for breastfeeding moms. The peroxide used for in-office whitening and take-home kits doesn’t absorb into the bloodstream and therefore doesn’t end up in breastmilk.
If you inevitably swallow a small amount of peroxide, it will quickly metabolize. So it won’t pose a risk to your breastmilk.
But, even though teeth whitening is considered safe for breastfeeding moms, you should always consult with your doctor before starting new procedures or medications.
Teeth Whitening While Pregnant
While it’s likely safe for pregnant women to get their teeth whitened, it’s not recommended.
The American Dental Association recommends that non-essential office procedures and dental work be differed until after pregnancy.
These procedures typically won’t harm an unborn baby but may hurt the mother’s oral health.
Teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures may worsen these conditions.
Because of that, most dental professionals hold off on teeth whitening to minimize these potential risks.
RELATED: The Best Remedies for Unbearable Tooth Pain While Pregnant
More Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Now that we’ve covered teeth whitening while breastfeeding. Here are some other important breastfeeding tips for new moms.
There are so many things to know about breastfeeding, that it may feel overwhelming. But, thankfully, there are plenty of helpful resources out there, including your hospital’s lactation consultant.
And here’s a list of breastfeeding essentials to get you started:
- A good nipple cream like Lansinoh Lanolin
- Disposable nursing pads or reusable nursing pads
- A silicone breast pump
- An electric pump like the speCtra or Elvie pump
- Nursing tanks and tops
- Underwire-free nursing bras
- Breastmilk storage bags and bottles
- A good nursing pillow
- Nipple shields
- A Nursing cover that hooks around the neck
RELATED: Moms’ Picks: 12 Best Nipple Creams For Breastfeeding
Foods and Drinks to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Here are some foods to limit or avoid while breastfeeding:
- High-mercury fish
- Any foods your baby seems to be sensitive to or allergic to
- Peppermint, parsley, and sage (these can limit human breast milk production)
And contrary to popular belief you can consume alcohol, coffee, and soda in moderation. But be sure to follow the recommendations in this article if you are consuming those beverages regularly.
Helpful Foods and Drinks for Breastfeeding
If you’re having trouble with milk supply, try incorporating some of the foods, below, into your diet. And you should remember to drink plenty of water!
- Oatmeal or oat milk
- Fennel seeds
- Lean meat or poultry
You can also try these lactation cookies. They’re a yummy snack that may help with milk production, too.
And keep taking your prenatal vitamins! These are important for women’s health throughout their childbearing years even when they’re not pregnant.
It is not recommended for pregnant women to whiten their teeth. Teeth whitening products aren’t likely to harm an unborn baby. But, they may harm the mother’s teeth.
During pregnancy, teeth may become more sensitive and prone to cavities. And many women develop a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
Whitening teeth may exacerbate these common oral health issues. Because of this, the ADA guides all dental professionals to defer these treatments until after birth.
There are a variety of safe methods to whiten your teeth while breastfeeding. And the best products and treatments will depend on your particular teeth and your desired results.
Consult with your dentist to find the best option.
While breastfeeding, you should limit alcohol, coffee, and soda.
And you should avoid the following:
– High-mercury foods
– Foods your baby is sensitive or allergic to
– Menthols like peppermint and sage (these may decrease milk production)
– Medications and drugs that are not approved by your doctor
The Bottom Line
Can you whiten your teeth while breastfeeding? Here’s the bottom line:
- It is safe for breastfeeding women to whiten their teeth. However, you should always consult with your doctor before starting new treatments and medications.
- The main ingredients in teeth whitening products do not absorb into the bloodstream, and therefore do not affect a mother’s milk.
- Pregnant women should defer teeth whitening until after their baby is born. Whitening procedures may exacerbate certain pregnancy oral health conditions such as sensitive teeth, sore gums, cavities, and pregnancy gingivitis.
- You should always practice good oral hygiene, and this is especially true if you want to maintain the results of your teeth whitening procedures.
If this post was helpful, be sure to check out:
- 40 Smart Breastfeeding Tips
- Can you donate plasma while breastfeeding?
- 8 Baby Essentials for the First 3 Months
- The Ultimate First Time Mom Baby Registry Checklist
- Proven Newborn Sleep Tips
- 15+ Genius Newborn Baby Hacks
- 100 Latest Breastfeeding Statistics and Facts for 2022
Did we answer all your questions about whether or not to whiten your teeth while breastfeeding? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!