15 Apr 2017
For expectant mothers, it seems like there is a never-ending list of do’s and don’ts regarding what they can do while pregnant. And in many cases, that list doesn’t seem to get any smaller after your baby is born and you start breastfeeding.But what does this mean for your dental health? While it is generally understood that you can (and should) continue to get dental care while pregnant and breastfeeding, many women are left wondering whether teeth whitening and breastfeeding (or other cosmetic dental procedures) are truly compatible.
The answer? Well, it’s complicated…
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
In reality, there isn’t a true definitive answer to whether or not it is safe to bleach your teeth while pregnant or breastfeeding. This is in large part because there simply haven’t been any studies done to determine whether or not it is safe. In addition, the standard recommendation is to avoid using teeth whitening products during pregnancy because of the potential impact added chemicals could have on your developing baby. As the popular mantra goes, “everything you eat, the baby eats,” and this applies just as much to teeth whitening and other chemical treatments.
Because of this, many dentists and other medical professionals advise that their patients avoid using teeth whitening products while breastfeeding as well. The only real exception to this whitening products ban is whitening toothpaste, which has lower levels of the chemicals found in most whitening treatments and is unlikely to be accidentally swallowed in large amounts.
Similarly, while whitening strips contain the chemical peroxide, other medical professionals feel that it is unlikely that a noticeable amount of this substance would reach your baby through your breast milk. This is because teeth whitening strips contain a relatively small amount of peroxide, and as such, it would be nearly entirely filtered out before it entered your breast milk. In addition, the body naturally produces peroxide on its own, which makes it unlikely that the peroxide in teeth whitening strips would cause any problems for your newborn.
So What Should I Do?
If the conflicting information presented above sounds confusing, don’t worry. These types of concerns are entirely normal for first-time mothers, and when you find conflicting information online, it can be hard to decide what to do.
To make a well-informed decision on what to do, your best bet is to consult with your OBGYN or dentist, who can offer you more personalized advice based on your current needs and health history. This medical advice from someone you trust can give you much-needed peace of mind and help you make the right choice.
If your dentist or OBGYN recommends that you avoid getting teeth whitening during pregnancy, you don’t have to fret. You won’t be breastfeeding forever, and by simply continuing to practice other good oral hygiene practices (like brushing and flossing regularly), you can keep your smile looking healthy and bright.