Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

You may look at your child's teeth and wonder why they seem to be a different colour than yours and consider the option of tooth whitening. But is it safe? Our Selkirk dentists explain the reasons why we advise against teeth whitening for children and young teens.

Our Selkirk dentists do not recommend either professional in-office or at-home tooth whitening treatments for children. There are two main reasons for this:

Your children's teeth are not actually discoloured.

Parents sometimes notice that their children’s erupting adult teeth look a bit yellow, especially when compared to the baby teeth that remain in the mouth. As a result, they ask whether it would make sense to have their children’s teeth whitened.

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 adult teeth appear unusually yellow when they’re next to baby teeth in the mouth.

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.

There is not enough research on the safety of whitening the teeth of children.

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 is little data available to tell us 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.

What are some of the causes of tooth discolouration in children?

There are a number of possible reasons for teeth to change colour. Some of these reasons include:

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

How can you help keep your child's teeth looking bright and healthy?

Even though you should not bring your child for professional tooth whitening, you can still use other helpful tools and products such as whitening toothpaste to keep their teeth from becoming stained. You can also refrain from offering your child food and beverages that can cause staining.

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

If you would like to learn more about the healthy development of your child's teeth, request an appointment with our Selkirk dentists.

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Looking for a dentist in Selkirk? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today.

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