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Pregnancy and Oral Health - What Moms Need to Know

Pregnancy and Oral Health - What Moms Need to Know

As part of our Health and Wellness Series, we need to consider our oral health when pregnant and nursing.  We recently chatted with Dr. Evelyn Baran,  a dentist based in New York City, to ask her the questions about dental health which we hear frequently from many moms we talk with.  Check out the awesome guidance she provided during out conversation!

Is it safe for pregnant women to have dental work completed during their Pregnancy?

Dental cleanings and exams are not only safe; they are recommended in all stages of pregnancy.  Pregnancy brings several changes to your body.  It is very common for pregnant women to experience swollen and bleeding gums, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.  This condition is caused by elevated hormone levels during pregnancy.  The best way to avoid this condition or reduce symptoms is to see your dentist for a cleaning and exam. 

Dental treatment such as fillings, crowns and emergency treatment can safely be done during pregnancy.  However, it is best to postpone elective and cosmetic dental work until after the pregnancy.  This is a decision that should be made by your Dentist and OBGYN provider. 

Are there foods a mom should avoid while pregnant or nursing that could negatively affect the health of their teeth? 

The rules are the same whether you are pregnant, nursing or not.  Foods with high sugar contents and foods that are highly acidic should be avoided to maintain healthy teeth.  Healthy snacks such as apples, low-fat cheese, plain yogurt, vegetables and nuts are snacks that are healthier options for your teeth.

It is common for pregnant women in their first trimester to experience acid reflux or vomiting.  I tell pregnant patients who are experiencing acid reflux to avoid acidic foods and drinks.  For women who vomit frequently, I recommend to rinse their mouth out with water after vomiting and wait 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging their enamel. 

Is whitening treatment safe while pregnant or nursing?

Whitening treatment is considered a cosmetic dental procedure and should be avoided during pregnancy.  Most professional whitening procedures use Hydrogen peroxide or Carbamide peroxide. Both have not been tested in pregnant animals or humans and have not been assigned a pregnancy medication classification.

What oral care advice would you give for a breastfeed infant with teeth coming in? How would you brush or clean a baby’s teeth if they nurse at night?

I always tell my pregnant patients to start cleaning their baby’s mouth with a gum cleaner or wipe from day one. This way your baby becomes comfortable with you going in their mouth to clean.  Once your baby starts erupting teeth you want to switch to an infant toothbrush.  It is important to brush your baby’s teeth before they go to bed at night, even if you nurse.  Make it a routine to brush a least twice a day, after breakfast and before bed are best.

Is there any advice you would give a pregnant women or nursing mom?

Education, prevention and good oral habits are key!  Moms create the foundation for a child’s outlook on dental health, make it fun!  I try my best to give children the best experience so they enjoy brushing, going to the dentist and start developing good oral habits that they will have for life. 

Evelyn Baran DDS is a mother of two and she practices general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry in NYC with an office at 156 Fifth Avenue.  She can be reached at (212) 641-0633 or by email at .

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