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Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

Our Summerside dentists advise against teeth whitening for young teens and children for a few different reasons. Here, we explain.

Our Summerside dentists don’t recommend teeth whitening for children and teens because this cosmetic treatment is not appropriate for young people. There are two main reasons for this:

1. Their teeth are probably not actually discoloured.

Parents sometimes notice that as their children's adult teeth erupt, they look a bit yellow when compared to the baby teeth already in their mouth. Because of this, they may ask whether or not it would make sense to have their children's teeth whietned.

However, it’s completely normal for adult teeth to look more yellow than baby teeth. This happens because adult teeth contain significantly more dentin (the layer of the teeth directly beneath the enamel). Dentin is yellow in colour and can make the adult teeth appear unusually yellow when they’re next to baby teeth in the mouth.

The seeming discoloration will sort itself out once all of your child's baby teeth have fallen out. Because of this, whitening is usually totally unnecessary for young teens and children.

2. We don’t know if whitening is safe for developing teeth.

Most dentists will not whiten children’s teeth because the fact is, we simply don’t know if it’s safe to do so.

There isn't much data about the effects of whitening agents on teeth that are still developing. Because of this, it's best to err on the side of caution. 

Causes of tooth discolouration in kids

There are many possible causes of teeth discolouration in children:

  • Tooth decay
  • Poor dental hygiene habits
  • Excessive fluoride due to use of infant formula combined with fluoridated water
  • Intake of medications that contain iron (vitamin supplements)
  • Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy
  • Nerve damage or tooth trauma
  • Pigmentation due to food and beverage stains
  • Decalcification of enamel due to the removal of braces
  • Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding

How to help them prevent staining

SInce teeth whitening procedures aren't an option, your teen or child will have to prevent staining and discoloration with the use of whitening toothpaste. They should also avoid food or drinks that are infamous for causing staining like dark sodas.

If you want to learn more about teeth whitening for children, you can reach out to one of the dentists at Water Street Dental Clinic.

If you have questions about teeth whitening or about your children’s oral development, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our Summerside dentists.

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