Is teeth whitening safe in pregnancy?

Can teeth whitening at the dentist's office or at home cause harm to your baby?

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In a nutshell

If it’s not essential, then it’s probably best to wait until after pregnancy

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The expert view

The British Dental Association told us that it is ‘perfectly safe’ to have your teeth whitened if it is carried out by a trained dental professional.

But, as a cosmetic procedure, it would advise mums-to-be to wait until after the baby is born.

Carmel McHenry, from the BDA, explains: “There is no evidence that the whitening solution is harmful to pregnant or nursing mothers but the general advice during pregnancy is to avoid any unnecessary potential hazards.”

But she reassures that “anyone who has had tooth whitening and were unaware they were pregnant should not be concerned, as there is no evidence that whitening poses any particular risk”.

Since 2012, teeth whitening can only be carried out by a registered dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist on the prescription of a dentist – so no dodgy shopping centre outfits.

What about home teeth whitening kits?

In the UK, under European regulations, teeth whitening products containing between 0.1% and 6% hydrogen peroxide can only be used by a dentist. Any products with more than 6% hydrogen peroxide are banned outright.

The special teeth whitening kits, gels and pastes available in chemists in the UK can legally only contain up to 0.1% hydrogen peroxide.

So, if you buy a product online from the US or other countries, it could have well above those limits.

There’s not enough research into whether that could harm your baby, but high levels of hydrogen peroxide, or ill-fitting mouth trays for the gels could cause damage including:

  • Thinning enamel
  • Receding gums
  • Burning soft tissue (gums)

Mums writing on our forum say

“I’d get it done at a dentist rather than in a shopping centre or beauticians too- there is talk of banning these options at the moment due to health risks… No idea what these risks are though.” WhiteSparkles

Read more about pregnancy safety:

Are black tea and green tea safe in pregnancy?

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Can fizzy drinks be harmful when pregnant?

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