Can you bleach your teeth during pregnancy or while nursing?

The teeth whitening effect in the gel is accomplished with peroxide which is merely water with an extra oxygen atom. It is the oxygen which whitens your teeth, somewhat as the oxidation of certain metals causes rust to form. The oxidation of your teeth causes them to whiten and may be harmful to minute tissues and cells. No studies up to now have documented any harm done to the fetus; however because pregnancy is such a delicate time for a baby many dentists warn against bleaching your teeth while pregnant. Keep in mind also that the earlier in term you are, the more delicate the fetus is, and during the bleaching process it is almost impossible not to swallow a little of the gel.

Most dentists agree that it is safe to whiten one’s teeth after the baby is born but still nursing, as the compound has no way of getting directly into the baby’s blood stream. Again however, there is much we do not yet know about how substances affect babies’ long term health. Thus, to be perfectly safe, you might decide you want to wait until after the baby is weaned to whiten your teeth.

Whitening toothpaste although not effective in changing the color of your teeth, would be perfectly safe to use. Use a fluoride rinse afterwards to strengthen your teeth. Another whitening process called microabrasion uses acidic compounds to remove stains. If the microabrasion process used a small physical tool to physically scrape the teeth, no threat would be posed for the baby. However, it uses acidic components and there is even less pregnancy data on it. Therefore this would probably be contraindicated also.

A home remedy that apparently many use and would appear to be harmless is ˝ teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one crushed strawberry – brush, and leave on your teeth for five minutes and then rinse. The malic acid that does the trick is also found naturally in apples. However, to err on the side of caution I would not swallow any of it and still check with your dentist first, if pregnant or nursing.

It is also recommended that before using any over the counter products that you speak with your dentist, as yellowing of one’s teeth can be a symptom of a larger problem including the decomposition of tooth pulp tissue. If one already has periodontal disease, pregnancy itself can worsen the condition.

It is not advisable to whiten your teeth during pregnancy or nursing. If you are planning to do that, please consult your dentist. Considering that teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure, its benefits are really low compared to the risks of having one while pregnant.

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