Teeth Whitening When Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Teeth Whitening When Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Nov 17, 2022

A dazzling white smile makes you feel healthy and good about yourself, which positively impacts your overall quality of life. Unfortunately, certain factors like old age and regular consumption of colored food can cause your teeth to get dull or discolored. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry can help to brighten your teeth and give you a smile you love. Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic solutions for stained, yellowed, or discolored teeth.

If you’re considering teeth whitening but are pregnant, you might wonder whether it’s safe. Generally, most dental experts advise against optional cosmetic procedures that can negatively impact your pregnancy. Keep reading to understand why teeth whitening when pregnant might not be a great idea.

Can you whiten your teeth when pregnant?

The American Pregnancy Association claims that cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening aren’t urgently necessary and thus should be avoided or postponed until after delivery. The ADA also advises against teeth whitening during pregnancy due to the potential safety concerns of the whitening or bleaching products. If you’re pregnant and are still considering teeth whitening in Great Neck, NY, contact our cosmetic dentist to discuss your options.

Why is it not safe?

Whether you’re getting your teeth whitened by the dentist or using store-bought whitening products, both techniques involve applying bleaching or abrasive chemicals to the teeth for several minutes or times. While there isn’t any evidence that these products are dangerous for pregnant women, the fact remains that your mouth will be coming into contact with highly concentrated chemicals. Therefore, there are potential risks.

Teeth whitening risk during pregnancy

Usually, the fluctuating hormones during pregnancy make you vulnerable to injuries, infections, and illnesses. Therefore, even the slightest exposure to harmful products can cause unexpected risks. As far as your mouth is concerned, pregnancy increases your risk of oral issues, including:

  • Gum or periodontal disease
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Dry mouth
  • Enamel erosion and cavities
  • Pregnancy “tumors”

As long as pregnancy and teeth whitening are concerned, below are potential risks for you and your unborn baby:

  • Gum irritation and damage

The increase in hormones makes your gums extra sensitive during pregnancy. They can easily bleed or swell upon the slightest trigger. Therefore, using highly abrasive or bleaches when whitening teeth can irritate your gums and nearby soft tissues, causing significant discomfort and increasing your risk of gum disease.

  • Tooth Sensitivity

The high concentrations of bleaching or whitening agents open your teeth’ enamel pores to remove stains effectively. It can expose your tooth dentin and nerves, further aggravating your already sensitive teeth and causing significant discomfort.

  • Unknown effects on the unborn baby

There isn’t enough evidence that highly concentrated whitening chemicals can cause harm to the unborn baby.

Possible alternatives to whiten your teeth

Since you shouldn’t undergo teeth whitening during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you can’t brighten your smile while pregnant. There are possible alternatives to brighten your teeth during pregnancy. For instance, you can use home-based whitening products like:

  • Oil pulling with essential oils like coconut oil
  • Eating fruits with whitening ingredients, such as strawberries and pineapple
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, and celery can help remove plaque on teeth, making them brighter.
  • Professional cleaning. Uncleaned bacterial plaque and tartar can make your teeth appear dull or discolored. Your dentist can clean and polish your teeth, giving them a brighter appearance.

Tips for maintaining bright teeth

There are several things you can do to keep your teeth healthy and bright, including:

  • Brush at least twice daily for two minutes each time.
  • Use fluoride-based toothpaste.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Limit sugary and acidic food items.
  • Schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Limit or avoid staining food items like coffee, tea, tomatoes, soda, and citrus fruits. Be sure to rinse your mouth after taking these items.
  • Avoid tobacco products.

Schedule an appointment today

Are you interested in cosmetic dentistry in Great Neck, NY? Contact Great Neck Dental Associates to discuss your goals with our cosmetic dentist and find out how to make your smile brighter.

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