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Teeth Whitening While Pregnant: Is It a Good Idea?

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It's not exactly a bold statement to say that pregnancy can place a lot of stress on a woman's body. So it's hardly surprising that pregnant women will want to do things that make them feel better while they're expecting. Should teeth whitening be one of these things? There are many different theories as to whether or not teeth whitening should be performed while pregnant  and about the possible effects it might have on an unborn child. It's time to examine if having your teeth whitened is a good idea while pregnant, or whether it's better to wait.

Hydrogen Peroxide

No matter if the procedure is performed in a cosmetic dentistry clinic or by using an over the counter treatment, teeth whitening usually involves the use of a hydrogen peroxide solution. A dentist will lightly apply the solution to your teeth and then use a light treatment to intensify the results. It's quick and highly effective (which is why it can often cost a fair amount of money). An over the counter treatment involves you applying the hydrogen peroxide solution yourself and then generally wearing a mouthguard style device for a short time afterwards to press the solution into your teeth.

Teeth Whitening and a Developing Baby

It's entirely possible for a miniscule amount of the solution to be ingested. It's not harmful in such a minute amount, and yet the debate rages as to whether even the smallest amount can be harmful for a developing fetus (much like consuming even a small amount of alcohol or nicotine). It's difficult to determine whether or not the use of hydrogen peroxide has any effects on a developing fetus. While the two matters cannot be conclusively linked, most dentists prefer to err on the side of caution and will not perform a whitening procedure on a pregnant woman. Many dentists will not even perform the procedure while a woman is breastfeeding, as there is a risk of any hydrogen peroxide that enters the mother's body being passed to the child.

Other Options for Whitening

The trick is to use an over the counter whitening product, but you will need to shop around. There are a number of products in which the active ingredient is bicarbonate of soda. This is a natural whitening agent and is perfectly safe to use. These can be obtained in a gel that is applied to the teeth (followed by the wearing of a mouthguard style device for a short time afterwards). It can be used in conjunction with a toothpaste that contains bicarbonate of soda.

These natural methods for whitening teeth are slower acting that those that use hydrogen peroxide, but they do work. They will noticeably whiten your teeth, although not to the degree that a hydrogen peroxide-based treatment would. When you are no longer breast feeding, you can visit your dentist for a hydrogen peroxide-based whitening session. The good news is that your teeth will already be significantly whiter than they used to be, so less work will be required.

For more information, contact your local dental clinic.