Why Choosing the Right Toothpaste Matters when You Are Pregnant

What is remineralizing toothpaste?

A remineralizing toothpaste is a toothpaste with specialized ingredients to strengthen your tooth enamel and improve the overall oral health. Pregnancy-related changes can make your teeth more vulnerable to problems such as cavities, gum infections, or tooth sensitivity.

How does remineralizing toothpaste help your teeth?

Once you lose your tooth enamel, you can’t replace it. Adding back some of the minerals used to form strong tooth enamel can help to strengthen weakened tooth enamel. Using remineralizing toothpaste:

  • Makes existing tooth enamel stronger
  • Improves the overall strength of all of your teeth
  • Reduces sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Repairs weak spots.

Why is the toothpaste you use important in pregnancy?

There are several hormone-related changes in pregnancy that cause changes in your mouth, including erosion and weakening of tooth enamel. Pregnancy-related vomiting, swelling of your gums, and pregnancy-induced gingivitis (swollen, painful, infected gums) put your oral health at risk. Choosing the right toothpaste can help you avoid problems with your teeth and gums lasting beyond pregnancy.

Vomiting from morning sickness harms your teeth

If you experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, the high acid levels in your mouth after vomiting can weaken your tooth enamel. Although you want to brush immediately after vomiting, using your toothbrush in the high acidity levels might do more harm to your tooth enamel.

If you have morning sickness in pregnancy, make sure to always rinse out your mouth with water or mouthwash after you vomit. Rinsing your mouth with one teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a cup of water will also neutralize the acid. Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after vomiting..

What to look for in a remineralizing toothpaste

Check toothpaste ingredient lists for one or more of the following mineral compounds that act like patches or bandaids over your tooth enamels’ weak spots:

  • stannous fluoride
  • sodium fluoride
  • calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite)

Stannous fluoride (found in the Crest ProHealth Advanced brand of toothpaste) is more effective at remineralizing than other kinds of fluoride.

Your remineralizing toothpaste will also protect against gum disease (gingivitis) and plaque buildup, both of which are more common during pregnancy. You also want toothpaste formulations that are not abrasive and offer anti-erosion protection of your weakened tooth enamel.

Some of the other factors to take into consideration with deciding which toothpaste to put in your cart are:

  • Cost
  • Taste
  • If the toothpaste has any potential Irritants or allergens

Mint, cinnamon, grape, orange, cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), and propylene glycol can cause allergic reactions for some people.

What Does Your Dentist Advise?

It is safe and recommended that you see your dentist at least once or twice during pregnancy for a dental check-up and cleaning. After your check-up they can tell you how your gums and tooth enamel are faring during pregnancy’s hormonal changes.

There are more powerful remineralizing toothpastes available with a prescription from your dentist. These are able to penetrate deeper the tooth root with higher fluoride levels. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best choice of remineralizing toothpaste during pregnancy.

Other Tips for Healthy Pregnancy Smiles

  • Avoid sugary substances like candy and soda to reduce your risk of pregnancy cavities.
  • Try to continue flossing daily to keep gums healthy. You may notice more bleeding or swelling when you floss because of changes caused by pregnancy hormones.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of fluoridated water to stay hydrated and keep your tooth enamel strong. Commercially-available bottled waters can have differing amounts of fluoride, to start reading labels. Be sure to check your drinking water’s fluoride levels if your water comes from a well.
  • Postpone elective whitening treatments prescribed or preformed by your dentist until after delivery.
  • If you notice changes in your mouth that you are unsure of, talk to your dentist. 

Keeping your mouth healthier in pregnancy is good for baby’s health

Keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthier during pregnancy can help you have a healthy pregnancy and even help your child have healthy teeth when they grow up. Research links some of the bacteria found in pregnant moms’ mouths to a higher risk of preterm labor and cavities and gum disease in their children. Making simple choices, like switching to a remineralizing toothpaste during pregnancy, can help protect your healthy smile for a lifetime.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a certified nurse-midwife with a Master's Degree in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Her passions are health literacy and women's reproductive health. A recent two-year sabbatical with her family in Spain was the impetus for becoming a freelance women's health writer. An exercise nut, she is happiest outdoors and on adventures abroad.

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