Pregnancy shouldn't mean any interruptions to your regularly scheduled dental appointments, but it can mean that some forms of cosmetic dentistry should be delayed. This is true when it comes to teeth whitening treatments, and this is the case whether you were planning to have a dentist perform the whitening or if you were planning to do it at home. But what are some of the reasons for this recommended delay?
It's not as though anyone is going to deliberately swallow the whitening solution used in the process, but accidental ingestion is possible, and even likely. Although the amount would be minuscule, you have to remember that the average adult swallows around five grams of plastic each week (about the equivalent mass of a credit card). Much of this is unavoidable, just as the accidental ingestion of whitening solution is unavoidable when you whiten your teeth. But surely such a small amount wouldn't affect your baby, would it?
The active ingredient in teeth whitening solution is generally hydrogen peroxide, or occasionally, a form of hydrogen peroxide called carbamide peroxide. It's not as though these ingredients form the entirety of the whitening solution, but they comprise a certain percentage of the overall product. Though toxic, it's not as though the accidental ingestion of small amounts of these ingredients are going to affect your health. And they probably won't do anything to your baby either.
The idea to avoid traditional teeth whitening during pregnancy is more about erring on the side of caution. Although the risk of these compounds being fed to your baby is extremely low, it's best to avoid the chance altogether by abstaining from teeth whitening during pregnancy, and while you breastfeed. In short, traditional bleach-based whitening options should be delayed. Does this mean that all forms of teeth whitening should likewise be avoided?
Ask your dentist before you commence any form of whitening treatment, but you might wish to opt for something simple, like using a whitening toothpaste at home. Yes, this is gradual, but it can mean that less whitening is required when the time comes for a professional treatment. Some tooth discolouration can be removed by your dentist too, and extrinsic staining can be minimised with dental scaling, so be sure to enquire about this.
It's not as though you can never whiten your teeth after becoming pregnant, but it's considered wise to delay the process.