Should my wife whiten her teeth if she’s still breast feeding?

2015.10.20

My wife wants to start whitening her teeth because her sister asked her to be her maid of honor in her wedding. The wedding is in March. I asked my wife to wait but her reasoning is that she will still be breastfeeding in 2016 so why wait. She also says that if teeth whitening isn’t harmful anyway why would it be harmful if she is breastfeeding? Is it safe for her to do this? – Thomas

Thomas – Teeth bleaching gel contains carbamide peroxide, which is considered safe to whiten adult teeth. In-office bleaching gel contains high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (15%-35%). At-home bleaching products contain a lower percentage (usually 3% to 10%, although some are up to 15%). Some safety issues have been raised regarding the absorption of the bleaching gel into oral tissue, or through swallowing some of the gel.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more research is needed to determine appropriate use and limitation of teeth whitening for children.

While it is safe to go to the dentist during pregnancy—and it is encouraged—there is insufficient evidence to determine if teeth whitening is safe for pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding. The ADA recommends that the treatment is delayed until after delivery, but receiving the treatment while breastfeeding is questionable.

Regardless of whether a patient is pregnant or breastfeeding, her medical history, including her history of allergies must be reviewed to determine if she is candidate for teeth whitening.

After considering the information provided by the ADA, whether or not to use teeth bleaching gel while breastfeeding is a decision that each patient must make. As an additional precaution, we suggest that your wife speaks with her obstetrician/gynecologist to receive an opinion on using bleaching gel to whiten her teeth.

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.