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Pregnant Women Warned Against Teeth Whitening 

By Edwana Ndong Itunghi* — Teeth whitening has become a huge craze and the most popular cosmetic procedure for people to look younger. A whiter, brighter smile is one of the first things that people notice about your appearance. Although teeth whitening is very popular, many are still clueless about the wide array of different products and procedures that are now available as well as their adverse effects.

There are procedures that will claim to give you whiter teeth in a very short time but results can range from impressive to disappointing or even non-existent.(like whitening with toothpaste).
According to Dr. Michael Agbor Ashu, who works with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Hospital in Bamenda, people whitening their teeth should be well informed on the procedures and products of teeth whitening.

“They should know what it takes before they go in for teeth whitening,” he says. Dr. Agbor told The Post that not everybody is fit to go in for teeth whitening. He says research has shown that pregnant women and nursing mothers should not go in for teeth whitening. “There are no confirmed effects of teeth whitening on pregnant women and nursing mothers, but it is advisable that they give birth, finish breastfeeding their babies before they can come for teeth whitening.

This is because the minor effects that affect everybody, like teeth becoming fragile and dental sensitivity especially when one eats hot food or drinks cold water, also affect pregnant women, and anything that affects pregnant women will also affect the baby in the womb,” says Agbor. Moreover, he further said, pregnant mothers and nursing mothers are usually in a very delicate state. ‘Even people with gum diseases, cracked teeth or cavities in the areas they want to be whitened, should not even think of whitening their teeth,” he says.

He adds that the ideal teeth for whitening are those which have been discolored or stained due to the consumption of tea, coffee, red wine or cola. “When somebody comes for teeth whitening, I look at the colour first, because, obviously, fair people have brown teeth. I will advise fair people whose teeth are not too brown not to bleach their teeth because they will look odd,” he says.

Despite the fact that there are numerous side effects to teeth whitening, like teeth becoming fragile, dental sensitivity especially when one drinks water, eats hot food or gets shocking sensations from the air, many people still cherish it. A worker with Beneficial Life Insurance, whose only name The Post got as Shallotte, says, “I like teeth whitening because at least it makes me look more beautiful.”

She adds that at least when she smiles somewhere, she feels confident that she is not exposing brown teeth. “I feel good when I speak and laugh, and I also know that people around me are comfortable to see my teeth because they are sparkling,” says Caroline Natang, a student nurse on internship at the Regional Hospital Bamenda. She says what motivated her to go in for teeth whitening was because she wanted her smile to blend with her sparkling teeth.

Another student on internship with NFC Bank in Bamenda, Yvette Mbu, says she can’t stand people with stained teeth and that is why she herself looks for ways to make her teeth remain bright and shining. “My boyfriend even likes it when I smile and my teeth sparkle,” she said. However, even though there are people who are excited about whitening their teeth, they will rather prefer that their teeth get black rather than go through the risky process of whitening them.

“I can’t risk it whitening my teeth that will depreciate after some time. I better leave them natural as they are after all that is how God created them,” Lidwina Vua told The Post. She said the process of teeth whitening is too painful and she cannot bear such pain. “Teeth whiteners too want to earn a living and will obviously advise us to come for teeth whitening, we should not be deceived, we should know better,” she said.

*(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01370

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