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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Teeth whitening

Like with many other dental or medical treatments, people have wondered if teeth whitening during pregnancy and breastfeeding is safe.

Because no studies have been done regarding the safety of teeth whitening during pregnancy, the ADA suggests that "clinicians may consider recommending that teeth whitening be deferred during pregnancy." 1 Most dental professionals follow this suggestion, making it the standard protocol throughout the dental community, and recommend their patients don't whiten during pregnancy or fertility treatments.

This may cause some people to ask, "If it's suggested I not whiten during pregnancy, what about while breastfeeding?"

The answer to this is somewhat of a toss-up. No studies have been done to determine the safety of teeth whitening while breastfeeding. Some dental and medical professionals will suggest that mothers who are breastfeeding wait until after they are no longer breastfeeding to whiten their teeth. Many dental and medical professionals, however, say it's OK to whiten teeth while breastfeeding. One reason many clinicians feel this way is because the peroxide (the active ingredient in the teeth whitening agent) would likely be at an undetectable level in the mother's milk by the time it had worked its way through the body's natural filtering systems. This is due to the low percentage of peroxide in the teeth whitening agent and also the fact that the body naturally produces peroxide.

If you're wondering whether you should whiten your teeth during pregnancy, fertility treatments, or breastfeeding, here's the general consensus:

During pregnancy and fertility treatments, women should wait until after they're no longer pregnant to begin or continue treatment.

During breastfeeding, women should consult with their ob-gyn.

  1. Tooth whitening/Bleaching: Treatment Considerations for Dentists and Their Patients. ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. September 2009 (revised November 2010).