How To SAFELY Whiten Your Child’s Teeth

How To SAFELY Whiten Your Child’s Teeth

As a parent, you want to ensure your kids are perfectly healthy. Yellow, stained, or discolored teeth are just unacceptable. Having white teeth boosts your child’s self-esteem and encourages them to smile, which creates positive ripples in other areas of their lives.

Having your child’s teeth professionally whitened may seem like a scary commitment. You want to find out if you can do it, if it is safe to do it, and if should you do it. 

Let’s find out. 

Can You Whiten A Child’s Teeth?

Yes! Teeth whitening for children can be done. 

When done at home, teeth whitening for children is becoming more commonplace. 

However, dentists recommend waiting until children are 14 years old before considering getting their teeth professionally whitened.

Why? Because the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has stated that the research involving professional teeth whitening for children has left vague answers. Therefore, they cannot knowingly recommend teeth whitening treatment as safe for kids and teens under 15.

Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

The questions of “can children whiten their teeth?” and “should children whiten their teeth?” are answered entirely differently.

Certain factors come into play that you may not have thought about before. 

Children Outgrow Their Teeth

Children below 15 years old rarely have their full set of permanent teeth. With their oral appendages falling out, it financially fails to make sense why parents should have their children’s teeth professionally whitened. 

Children’s Teeth Have Little To No Stains

When your child’s permanent teeth first come out, they haven’t yet had the opportunity to build up bacteria-filled plaque and tartar. Together, these two are the leading chemical compounds for tooth discoloration. Plaque can easily attract strains from foods and beverages while tartar naturally has a yellowish-brown color that makes itself even more apparent amidst the naturally white background of newly grown adult teeth. 

Your Child’s Teeth Need To Calcify

Just because your child’s adult teeth have come out doesn’t mean they’re adult teeth. The calcification process of a tooth’s enamel takes about 2 years after it first emerges. If your child, then uses a whitening treatment before this period, you risk breaking down their teeth’s enamel and potentially damaging their gum tissue. During these first couple of years, your child runs the increased rrisk of experiencing the adverse side effects of tooth whitening. 

Is It Safe To Whiten Your Child’s Teeth?

While it is technically safe to whiten a child’s teeth professionally, it may not be recommended. 

As most whitening products use hydrogen peroxide with up to 13% concentration, as the concentration level rises, so do the chances of experiencing adverse effects on young teeth.  Teeth whitening products on children’s teeth can result in increased teeth sensitivity, dentin demineralization, and other variations in tooth color. Further use can also lead to damaged gum tissue, injured tooth pulp or nerves, interference with composite or plastic fillings, and cause enamel pitting and disintegration.

However, some products can whiten teeth without needing hydrogen peroxide.

Whitening toothpaste, for example, is known to remove stains on the surface of the teeth. They’re an excellent alternative to professional whitening as they remove minor stains without high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

Alternative Teeth Whitening Procedures

Since high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and other teeth whitening procedures have not been studied enough for children’s use, the best thing you can do is to prevent stains and maintain white teeth. 

Here are three alternative procedures that are safe for kids. 

  • Avoiding Foods And Drinks That Unnecessarily Stain Teeth: Sugary or Acidic food can break down your child’s enamel. When this happens, teeth become more susceptible to staining from highly colored food and drink. 
  • Using Safe Whitening Products: The ingredients in most teeth whitening toothpaste and mouthwash contain minimal amounts of peroxide, the enamel-breaking ingredient. Brushing with mild whitening toothpaste is much gentler than the abrasive nature of most professional whitening procedures. 
  • Establish Good Oral Habits: As we mentioned, children’s teeth are new enough that they likely won’t have that many stains yet. In that case, following through on good hygiene and oral habits should be enough to maintain the whiteness of new teeth.