pregnancy and tooth whiteningWhen I was pregnant, I was happy. I felt great. But I did not look good. At all. I opted not to color my hair and that alone makes me look washed out and about 50 years older. So I thought I'd brighten my smile—if people were dazzled by my white teeth, maybe they wouldn't notice my white hair. I was pretty sure it would be okay to whiten them, but just to be on the safe side, I did a little investigating. I was wrong.

It's normal to swallow some of the gel during the in-office bleaching process. While no studies have been done on the effects of the gel on the baby, experts say you should err on the side of caution and advise that you do not get your teeth whitened while pregnant. 

Another reason not to get your teeth whitened is that your gums are more sensitive when you're expecting and a tooth whitener might increase irritation.

The advice against getting your teeth whitened applies to over-the counter whiteners too. Although there aren't pregnancy-related warnings on them, dentists recommend you avoid whitening strips until after you've had the baby (and stopped breastfeeding).

So what can you do?

There are some new laser technologies that whiten teeth, and these may be safer than chemical gels, but you should consult with your doctor and your dentist before getting one of these procedures.

There's always good old toothpaste. While whitening toothpastes won't get your teeth as white as fast as gels and bleaches, they are generally okay to use when pregnant.

Keep smiling—you'll look brighter and more beautiful!

What beauty routines are you avoiding while pregnant?