Pregnancy can throw so many aspects of your life into chaos. And the anxiety of what you might be doing wrong without knowing can be overwhelming. The good news is that countless people have safely given birth and raised children before you. Chances are that your baby will be just fine. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth your time to research any concerns you may have.
One common question that expectant parents have about teeth whitening is if you can do it while pregnant. The answer to the question is situational and uncertain, but there are absolutely some safe solutions for parents who are looking to venture away from their local pharmacy.
Are Teeth Whitening Products Safe?
As far as most over-the-counter teeth whitening products are concerned, the verdict is still out. While peroxide can safely and confidently be used by adults for teeth whitening, there isn’t much in the way of conclusive proof as to how it might affect a developing embryo or fetus.
For that reason, dentists sensibly recommend not using teeth whitening products with peroxide while pregnant or while trying to get pregnant.
Are There Any Other Potential Side Effects?
Your primary concern when using chemicals while pregnant should naturally be the safety of your baby – but the pregnancy process also changes the mother’s body. And in many cases, these changes can cause adverse reactions to peroxide.
The change in hormonal balance during pregnancy can make a mother’s gums especially sensitive and vulnerable to gingivitis, and that’s an issue that can become aggravated by exposure to peroxide.
What Exactly Should You Avoid?
If you’re pregnant, the big ingredient to worry about is hydrogen peroxide. It’s the most prominent chemical in most whitening formulas, but there are also a lot of questions about how it might affect developing children. But that rule of thumb applies generally to chemical components. If reading an ingredient isn’t enough to tell you what it is, you may want to do a little more investigation into its potential side effects.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Teeth whitening is a highly chemical process, so it’s only natural to be worried about the impact it might have on your baby’s development. But there are plenty of all-natural alternatives that can help maintain the brightness of your smile during pregnancy and breastfeeding – and many produce impressive enough results that you might decide to stick with them even after your pregnancy.
Baking soda is a powerful abrasive, and that justifies its inclusion in countless kinds of toothpaste that promise to whiten your teeth. But that abrasive quality should be of concern to pregnant mothers. The effects of morning sickness can wear down the enamel of your teeth, and that’s an issue that’s only exacerbated by baking soda.
Coconut oil pulling is a commonly used natural remedy for teeth whitening – and while its medical benefits aren’t definitive, coconut oil itself is great at tearing down the plaque that causes discoloration. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties also provide protection and relief against sensitivity that pregnancy often causes.
Xylitol is a benign alcohol compound that’s often used as a substitute for sugars. It also creates a wall of protection against microbes. The result is stronger enamel that’s less prone to decay. Xylitol tends to do a lot of heavy lifting in all-natural teeth whitening products.
To put things in perspective, teeth whitening is hypothetically safe during pregnancy, while the safety of bleaching teeth is uncertain. Keep away from the latter and you should be fine. And if you instead pick a whitening agent that addresses the root of the problem, you’ll be treated to a wide variety of additional health benefits.