If you’re a new or soon-to-be mom, breastfeeding is a great decision to make for a child’s dental health. Not only has breastfeeding been found to be good for your baby’s teeth, it’s also been said to reduce the chance of developing crooked teeth and even bottle tooth decay.
However, your dental health is just as important as your new baby’s when breastfeeding. It’s tough to care for yourself when you are pregnant or have a newborn.
But that shouldn’t stop you from practicing a good oral care routine each day that benefits not only you, but also your baby.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the most frequently asked questions that new mothers have about dental care while breastfeeding, plus answers about dental treatments, infections, types of medicines you can take, and how to take care of your and the baby’s teeth while breastfeeding:
Can I have dental work done while breastfeeding?
Absolutely, although it may depend on the dental treatment you need. It’s always best to consult your dentist before scheduling any dental work, and to let them know that you’re planning to or currently breastfeeding.
Can a tooth infection affect breastfeeding?
If you have a tooth infection, abscessed tooth, cavity or root canal, you’re safe to breastfeed—however, you should visit a dentist right away as those conditions may only become worse.
Can I take medications while breastfeeding?
Most medications that you’re given for dental work are safe to take while breastfeeding.
However, several studies have been inconclusive in determining whether most other medicines are safe to continue breastfeeding. Before taking any medications, always consult your doctor and dentist first.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common antibiotics that you may receive for dental work, and what to know for each:
Also known as Penicillin, this is prescribed for various dental procedures to prevent infections. Amoxicillin is safe to take while breastfeeding and is not expected to cause any adverse effects in infants.
By itself, Lidocaine does not have any affects in infants. However, if it’s taken with other medicines, like anesthetics or analgesics, it may interfere with breastfeeding.
Consult your dentist if you’re prescribed Lidocaine, and let them know that you’re breastfeeding to determine which prescription will work best for you.
Based on the short half-life of Novocaine, it is very unlikely to cause any negative effects in infants.
Based on your dentist’s recommendation upon knowing you’re breastfeeding, they might prescribe a preferable medicine if you’re nursing a newborn.
This antibiotic is usually prescribed in the case of an allergy to Penicillin or Amoxicillin. Erythromycin is unlikely to cause adverse effects in infants due to the low levels in breast milk, but it is important to be on the lookout for any side effects in your newborn, like diarrhea and diaper rash.
If you are to receive anesthesia, nitrous gas or an X-ray for any dental work or treatments, all are acceptable while breastfeeding. However, it’s always best to tell your dentist beforehand that you’re breastfeeding to ensure that they can give you the medicine that best fits your circumstances.
How do I care for my teeth while breastfeeding?
Some mothers to experience a loss of bone density in their teeth while breastfeeding, due to providing calcium for the milk.
But it’s very simple to offset these effects while breastfeeding: Consume enough calcium. For women between the ages of 19 and 50, pregnant or not, The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 mg per day.
And since breastfeeding moms need extra calories, you’ll want to find foods that are nutrient-rich and not harmful to your teeth. These foods may include:
- Lean meats
On the flip side, avoid consuming caffeine, chocolate, citrus, wheat and carbonated drinks.
And as always, practice good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, and replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
How do I care for my baby’s teeth while breastfeeding?
Oral care for your baby is incredibly important while breastfeeding, so establish some good dental habits early on because once the first tooth comes in, that’s when the chances of tooth decay start to rise. And while tooth decay is usually associated with bottle-feeding, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen with breastfeeding, too.
One of the first steps to preventing tooth decay from happening is to gently wipe your baby’s gums and/or teeth at least once a day.
You also want to ensure that your baby isn’t going to sleep with a bottle, and that they’re not using the bottle during the day as a pacifier unless it’s filled with water. This also applies to when the baby falls asleep while breastfeeding—you’ll want to remove your breast from the mouth in this case.
And lastly, limit the amount of sugar your child is consuming, especially as they get older. This includes candy, cookies, chips, juice and much more.
If you decide to give your child sweets, ensure that it’s at mealtime, and eventually teach your baby to use his or her tongue to remove any excess food off the gums and teeth.
Brought to you by Blue Hills Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-42611 (exp. 6/19).