For a new mom struggling to take care of the child while recovering herself, oral health issues and dental problems might be bothersome. While you may be aware that certain medications are contraindicated for lactating mothers, you may wonder if it is safe to undergo dental treatment while breastfeeding. Read this post to know all about the safety, indications, and contraindications of different dental care procedures and oral treatments during pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Undergo Dental Treatment While Breastfeeding?
As a lactating mother, you may be apprehensive about taking medications fearing that they might affect your baby’s growth negatively. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor or a qualified lactational consultant and inform them about the fact that you are a breastfeeding mom so that they may advise an appropriate treatment for you.
If you are suffering from extreme tooth pain or decay, it is likely that your dentist will advise you about dental work (dental fillings or root canal treatment). They may also prescribe certain painkillers and antibiotics that can aid in pain management and alleviate symptoms of gum diseases or dental infections. It is safe to continue breastfeeding while undergoing most dental treatments. However, your dentist may advise you to suspend nursing temporarily while taking these medications as a precaution to rule out any side effects.
Different Dental Treatments Considered Safe While Breastfeeding
1. Dental Procedures:
Dentists use numbing agents such as lidocaine as a local anesthetic during a dental procedure. The numbing drug does not take a toll on the quantity or quality of your breast milk. Your dentist may employ different types of anesthetic procedures if you are undergoing treatment while nursing your baby. Even if you have to undergo a dental procedure for tooth removal, you do not have to stop breastfeeding at all. You can safely nurse your baby, as soon as you recover from anesthesia and surgical pain (1).
2. Sedation And Nitrous Oxide:
If your dentist administers valium, you can resume feeding your child as soon as you are awake from your sedation. You can feed your baby before entering and after leaving the surgical room. Most of the medications used for sedation during dental treatment are extremely safe for breastfeeding women (2). There is no need to pump and dump your breastmilk. The amount of anesthetic in your breast milk after a single dosage of sedative is nil or minimal and will not cause any harm to your precious baby.
Nitrous oxide is insoluble in nature and does not enter your bloodstream. It means that the sedative gas used in dental works immediately moves out of the body and does not permeate the breast milk. Therefore, it does not adversely affect your breastfeeding baby. (3)
3. Dental Diagnostic Tests:
The diagnostic tests to check the extent of dental decay include dental X-rays and fine-needle aspirations. None of these diagnostic tests adversely affects your breast milk production, and you can safely continue to feed and bond with your little angel.
4. Using Dental Products:
You can safely use mouth gels, mouthwashes or other dental products such as Anbesol, Medijel, Oraldene, and Corsodyl during your breastfeeding phase (4)
If you are a nursing mother, it is advisable to postpone cosmetic treatments like tooth whitening for the time being though the chemicals used may not adversely affect your little one.
Remember, before undergoing any dental procedures that involve dental implants or restorative treatments, such as dental crowns, or bridges, you need to consult your health practitioner to go through the medical process comfortably. Also, while breastfeeding, use any medication or dental hygiene products only after seeking professional advice from experts.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you breastfeed after dental injections?
The time when it would be safe to breastfeed depends on the type of dental injection you receive. For instance, some types of dental anesthesia can safely let you breastfeed once the effect wears off (5). Nevertheless, speak to your dentist to learn when breastfeeding would be safe after receiving a dental injection.
2. Can I breastfeed after getting a crown?
Yes. It is safe to breastfeed after dental procedures, such as getting a crown. However, if you received anesthesia or other medications, ask your dentist about the safe time to resume breastfeeding (4).
3. Can anesthesia used in dental procedures affect breast milk?
All anesthetic drugs are known to transfer to breast milk in small or negligible amounts. Therefore, their effects can be deemed clinically insignificant (7).
4. Can breastfeeding cause dental problems?
Breastfeeding is not directly related to dental problems in mothers and babies. In fact, breastfeeding has numerous benefits for overall well-being, including oral health. However, nursing mothers can develop dental issues due to poor oral hygiene and consuming high-sugar foods and beverages. In babies, direct breastfeeding may be more beneficial than bottle feeding in keeping dental problems at bay. However, cleaning a baby’s gums and emerging teeth with a soft cloth after feedings to remove any residual milk or formula is vital to avert dental issues, irrespective of the feeding method (8).
5. How can I prevent dental problems while breastfeeding?
Regular flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste can help prevent dental problems when nursing. However, consult your doctor for prompt treatment if you experience discomforts like swelling, bleeding gums, and bad breath.
6. Can dental procedures affect milk production?
No evidence suggests that dental procedures may affect a mother’s milk production. The local anesthesia given during dental procedures appears in very low concentrations in breast milk. Hence, you can resume breastfeeding after the effect of anesthesia wears off (7).
7. Is it safe to use fluoride toothpaste while breastfeeding?
Absorption of fluoride through teeth is minimal. Furthermore, the chances of consuming excess fluoride through toothpaste are unlikely. Therefore, using fluoride toothpaste while breastfeeding is considered to be safe. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and protects against tooth decay (9).
When nursing your baby, you could be apprehensive about any treatments or medications, thinking they could impact your baby’s health. If you are dealing with a dental problem and unsure about the treatments, know that there are safe methods for dealing with dental discomfort while breastfeeding. However, though some medications are unsafe when breastfeeding, you may talk to your doctor about the safety aspects and preferred dental treatment while breastfeeding to seek immediate relief from the dental pain and discomfort. Also, your doctor can prescribe safe medications to be used for lactating mothers.
Infographic: Dental Treatments Considered Safe During Breastfeeding
Most dental procedures can be performed on nursing mothers without causing any harm to them or the baby. The infographic below lists a few treatments and medications that lactating mothers can use. You may save and share this infographic with other breastfeeding women too!
- Women should inform their dentists about breastfeeding to ensure the appropriate use of anesthetics and antibiotics.
- Breastfeeding can continue after dental treatments as medications do not affect breast milk significantly.
- Local anesthetics are safe for breastfeeding and do not impact the baby.
- Using mouth gels and mouthwashes is considered safe during pregnancy.
- Lidocaine use while breastfeeding.
- Diazepam pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings.
- Nitrous oxide use while breastfeeding.
- Dental treatment and breastfeeding mothers.
- M Giuliani et al.; (2001); Could local anesthesia while breast-feeding be harmful to infants?
- Antibiotics and Breastfeeding
- Statement on Resuming Breastfeeding after Anesthesia
- Breastfeeding and Dental Issues
- Dental Treatment and Breastfeeding Mothers