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Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

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Our Thornhill dentists advise against teeth whitening for children and young teens for a number of important reasons.

Our Thornhill dentists don’t recommend teeth whitening for children and teens. There are 2 main reasons this cosmetic treatment is not good for young people:

1. Their teeth are probably not actually discoloured.

Erupting adult teeth can look a bit yellow compared to the baby teeth that remain in the mouth. As a result, parents might wonder if it would make sense to have their children’s teeth whitened.

It's important to know that this is completely normal. Adult teeth tend to look more yellow than baby teeth because they contain more of the layer beneath the enamel called dentin. Dentin is yellow in colour and can make the 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.

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 is not much research or data behind how safe it is to whiten developing children's teeth, so it is better to be cautious.

Causes of tooth discolouration in kids

There are many possible causes of teeth discolouration in children:

  • Poor dental hygiene habits
  • Excessive fluoride due to use of infant formula combined with fluoridated water
  • Tooth decay
  • Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy
  • 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

How to help them prevent staining

Your child or teen can still help prevent staining and discolouration with the whitening toothpaste. Additionally, foods and drinks that cause staining, such as dark sodas, can be avoided.

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

Questions about teeth whitening or your children’s oral development? Book an appointment with our Thornhill dentists.

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