Many women wonder if their usual teeth whitening procedures, or any new ones they may want to try, are safe during pregnancy. Pregnancy is an important time, and expecting mothers want to be sure they are doing everything they can to protect their baby’s health and wellbeing.
Common teeth whitening procedures, either at-home procedures such as whitening strips, or procedures performed by the dentist, haven’t been proven to create risks for you or your baby during pregnancy. However, there is simply not enough information to prove that teeth whitening during pregnancy is completely safe.
The active ingredient in teeth whitening products is carbamide peroxide, which reacts with water to become hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide in teeth whitening products bleaches your teeth, giving you that brilliant white smile. This oxidation process can, however, be harmful to soft tissue. Since your gums are more sensitive and more prone to gingivitis during pregnancy, the hydrogen peroxide could be damaging to your gums.
Because there is not enough information about the potential effects of the chemicals used in teeth whitening products on you and your baby during pregnancy, it is recommended that you avoid teeth whitening procedures during pregnancy, just to be as safe as possible. For those who are especially concerned about the appearance of their teeth, this can be a big inconvenience. Fortunately, there are some safe ways to whiten teeth during pregnancy.
Pregnant or not, prevention is always the best medicine! You can avoid staining your teeth further by avoiding the following:
- Coffee and tea;
- Dark fruit and vegetables, eg. pomegranate, beetroot, dark berries, and their juices;
- Acidic food, such as citrus or tomatoes;
- Sugary food and drinks.
While it may be unrealistic to completely cut these foods out of your diet, especially the ones that have additional health benefits, you can help combat stains by brushing your teeth after eating them, and drinking plenty of water. The good news is that there are some foods which are actually good for teeth whitening, including strawberries and fibrous fruits.
You can also continue to use a whitening toothpaste which usually contain abrasive materials to help eliminate surface stains, but they don’t contain hydrogen peroxide. While whitening toothpaste isn’t as effective as other whitening procedures, it’s a safe way to whiten your teeth during pregnancy.