Is Teeth Whitening Safe for Kids?

Team Pediatric Dentistry, Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is a great way to make your smile look all bright and new again. If teeth are yellow or stained, safe, effective, simple professional teeth whitening is the solution. 

Most people experience stains and yellowing of teeth over time as adults, but sometimes children may need teeth whitening, too. Whitening greatly improves the look of teeth, does not harm teeth, and is available both professionally and over-the-counter. Your dentist can provide successful, long-lasting in-office and at-home professional whitening kits.  

How Does Tooth Staining Happen in Children?

Just like adults, children may need to have their teeth whitened. While not due to aging, as is the case with many adults seeking teeth whitening, children’s teeth may yellow or stain due to:

  • Poor oral hygiene care
  • Food and beverage stains due to foods and beverages such as sodas, certain berries, teas
  • Stains due to medications such as iron-enhanced vitamin supplements or certain antibiotics such as tetracycline
  • Decalcification of tooth enamel when braces are removed
  • Nerve damage
  • Tooth damage or trauma
  • Excessive fluoride use, which can be caused by combining baby formula with fluoridated water 
  • Tooth decay
  • Mother having taken tetracycline while pregnant or while breastfeeding
  • Medical conditions that affect the development of teeth as an infant 

If any of these issues have occurred, your child may want or need tooth whitening. 

When Can Children Have Teeth Whitened?

In order for children to have teeth whitened they must have: 

  • All permanent teeth in place 
  • Fully calcified enamel on permanent teeth 
  • Any orthodontic treatments already been completed

While teeth whitening is safe for children in general, there are some risks to consider. Over the counter teeth whitening strips, for example, contain a large amount of hydrogen peroxide. While this helps to whiten teeth, it can also cause or increase tooth sensitivity. Adults as well as kids can experience this. 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry warns parents about using over-the-counter teeth whitening products on young children, because many of the products are still quite new and have not yet been fully evaluated.  

Children who do utilize teeth whitening strips will also need the supervision of an adult, because you want to make sure children don’t leave the strips in place too long, causing tooth damage, and to make sure that they do not accidentally swallow these strips. 

Parents should consult with a skilled pediatric dentist before using any type of over-the-counter whitening product for your child, to ensure safety.

Preventing Stains and Discoloration

Besides using teeth whitening products, one of the best ways to keep your children’s teeth looking good is to encourage oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing twice daily. Your child can also prevent staining and discoloration by using a tooth whitening toothpaste.

It’s also important to schedule regular, routine pediatric dental exams and cleanings twice a year for your child.

And help your child by providing a healthy diet, high in fruits and vegetables, limiting the consumption of foods and beverages that stain teeth, such as sodas. 

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re ready to learn more about children’s teeth whitening options, or want to schedule an appointment, reach out to us at Bisson Dentistry, today. Our skilled children’s dentists are ready to help!