Teeth whitening has become an increasingly popular cosmetic dental procedure, even for kids. Many parents are concerned about their child’s teeth color and are considering whitening as an option.
However, is it safe to whiten a child’s teeth? Below are the safety concerns and effectiveness of teeth whitening for kids, and provide guidelines for parents to follow if they want to whiten their child’s teeth.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe for Kids?
Teeth whitening is generally not recommended for children, especially those under the age of 12. This is because their teeth are still developing and may be more sensitive to the whitening agents used in most treatments.
However, it’s also important to note that there are potential risks associated with teeth whitening, such as tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
Pediatric Dentists on Teeth Whitening
Pediatric dentists generally do not recommend whitening for teeth in children, especially for those under the age of 16. They usually This is because the teeth whitening process regardless of the end results of white teeth, involves the use of chemicals, which may not be safe for children.
In addition, children’s teeth are still developing, and whitening agents may interfere with the natural development and mineralization of the teeth. Teeth whitening may also cause tooth sensitivity and damage the enamel if not done properly.
If your child is experiencing discoloration of the teeth (tooth stains), it is best to consult a pediatric dentist to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. In some cases, simple measures such as improving dental hygiene or avoiding certain foods and drinks may be sufficient to address the discoloration.
In cases where teeth whitening is deemed necessary, a pediatric dentist may recommend alternative options such as dental bonding, which is a non-invasive treatment that can improve the appearance of discolored teeth without the use of chemicals.
What causes discoloration in children’s teeth
There are several factors that can cause discoloration in children’s teeth:
- Poor dental hygiene: If children do not brush and floss their teeth regularly, plaque and stains can build up on their teeth, leading to discoloration.
- Genetics: Some children may be predisposed to having teeth that are naturally more yellow or gray in color.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as antibiotics, can cause discoloration of the teeth, especially if they are taken during tooth development.
- Trauma or injury: If a child’s tooth is injured or traumatized, it can lead to discoloration.
- Excessive fluoride: Too much fluoride, either from drinking water or from fluoride supplements, can cause a condition called fluorosis, which can result in white or brown discoloration of the teeth.
If you are concerned about your child’s tooth discoloration, it is important to consult a dentist to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.
When is the Best Time to Whiten a Child’s Teeth?
The best time to whiten a child’s teeth is when their permanent teeth have fully erupted, usually around the age of 13. However, this can vary from child to child.
Before deciding to whiten your child’s teeth, it’s important to consider factors such as their age, the condition of their teeth, and their overall oral health.
Aftercare for Teeth Whitening for kids
- Continue practicing good oral hygiene: Encourage your child to continue with regular brushing their teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily to maintain their newly whitened teeth and remove any new forming dark stains. Good oral hygiene practices can also help prevent future staining and discoloration and give your kids teeth a whiter appearance.
- Avoid staining foods and drinks: Certain foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, and red wine can stain teeth. Encourage your child to avoid or limit their consumption of these foods and drinks to help maintain their newly whitened teeth.
- Use a straw: When drinking staining beverages, encourage your child to use a straw to minimize contact with their teeth.
- Attend regular dental checkups and cleanings: Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help keep your child’s teeth healthy and white. During these appointments, the dentist can also check for any signs of tooth sensitivity or gum irritation and provide appropriate treatment.
- Consider touch-up treatments: Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution, and touch-up treatments may be needed to maintain your child’s white smile. Talk to your child’s dentist about the appropriate frequency of touch-up treatments based on their individual needs.
By following these aftercare tips, your child can enjoy the benefits of teeth whitening for a longer period of time and maintain a bright, healthy smile.