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Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

For a few different reasons, our Camrose dentists strongly advise against whitening the teeth of children and young teenagers.

Our Camrose 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 will sometimes notice that their children's erupting adult teeth look a bit yellow. This is especially in comparison to the baby teeth that remain in their mouth. Because of this, they may ask us about whether it would make sense to have their child's teeth whitened.

It's actually totally normal for adult teeth to look yellower than primary teeth. This happens because adult teeth contain lots more dentin (the layer below a tooth's enamel). This part of the tooth is yellow in colour and can make adul teeth seem a bit yellow when they are compared to baby teeth as that colour shows through the translucent enamel.

This perceived discolouration typically sorts itself out once all the baby teeth have fallen out. For this reason, whitening is usually completely unnecessary for children and young teens.

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

Most dentists will refuse to whiten a child's teeth because, frankly, there isn't consensus about whether or not it is safe to do so. There isn't much data available about what the effects of whitening agents would be on teeth that are still developing and, so, 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
  • Pigmentation due to food and beverage stains
  • Excessive fluoride due to use of infant formula combined with fluoridated water
  • Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy
  • Nerve damage or tooth trauma
  • Decalcification of enamel due to the removal of braces
  • Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Intake of medications that contain iron (vitamin supplements)

How to help them prevent staining

Since whitening procedures for your child's teeth aren't an option if their smile is actually abnormally discoloured, your teeth or child can still help to prevent the discolouration of their teeth by using whitening toothpaste. Foods and drink that may cause staining such as tea or dark sodas can also be avoided.

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

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

(780) 679-2224