Nitrous Oxide Use in Dental Care

Why am I being warned about potential exposure to nitrous oxide?

  • Nitrous oxide is on the Proposition 65 list because it can cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.
  • Women exposed to nitrous oxide may experience reduced fertility. Exposure during pregnancy may cause loss of pregnancy and birth defects.
  • Proposition 65 requires businesses to determine if they must provide a warning about exposures to listed chemicals.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”, is a gas used in combination with other gases to ease pain and anxiety during certain dental procedures.

How does exposure to nitrous oxide occur during dental care?

  • Dental patients breathe in nitrous oxide when it is used in a dental procedure.
  • Nitrous oxide can pass to the unborn baby when it is given to a pregnant woman during a dental procedure.

How can I reduce my exposure to nitrous oxide during dental care?

  • Talk to your doctor or dentist about anesthetic options other than nitrous oxide in planning for dental work.
  • Maintain good dental health.

For more information:

Nitrous Oxide in Dental Offices Fact Sheets and Resources:

Dental Oral Health:

Proposition 65:

  • California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
    Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
Posted March 2016

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the content of this page, please click here.

Sign-up for Email Updates

OEHHA is subject to the California Public Records Act and other laws that require the release of certain information upon request. If you sign up for a listserve, please be aware that your name and e-mail may be provided to third parties. By signing up you are waiving any right to privacy you may have in the information you provide.

Secretary of State - Register to Vote
CalFile - Free Online Tax Filing