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Is it OK for Kids to Whiten Their Teeth?

January 25, 2018


A healthy, bright smile is a powerful thing – especially for kids. But many parents turn to whitening products to help improve their child’s smile. One of the most common teeth-whiteners is whitening toothpaste – but is it OK for your child to use?

Whitening Toothpaste 

Whitening toothpaste can work to remove stains on the surface of teeth, but it does not work to change the natural color of teeth or lighten their shade at all. Whitening toothpastes usually contain mild abrasives that work to polish teeth, and have chemicals that break down or dissolve tooth stains.

Whitening toothpaste will work to remove small stains, but it won’t alter your child’s teeth to make them appear drastically whiter. It can also cause teeth to become sensitive to cold or hot, as microscopic holes in tooth enamel may become exposed from the abrasives. 

Professional Alternative to Whitening Toothpaste

Dental bleaching is a form of cosmetic dentistry that whitens teeth through the controlled application of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. While you can get dental bleaching products at the store or pharmacy, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that parents consult a pediatric dentist when bleaching their children’s teeth. 

With professional bleaching, your pediatric dentist also has more control when placing the whitening appliance. The added control will empower them to fit a customized tray to your child’s teeth that will work better than a store bought appliance, and help curtail negative gingival effects. Additionally, professionally applied dental bleaching whitens better than store bought products, and affords your child more tissue protection than an over-the-counter product.  

If we Choose Whitening, what Age Should My Child Begin?

Your child needs to wait until the enamel on their permanent teeth has fully calcified BEFORE beginning any whitening treatment, which usually takes 2 years after an adult tooth emerges. If your child uses a whitening treatment before all their adult teeth come in, then they risk breaking down their tooth enamel and damaging their gum tissue.  

Before beginning any whitening treatment at home, it’s best to consult with your child’s pediatric dentist first.  

Ask Our Office! 

If your child is self-conscious about stains on their teeth, then visit our office. We will evaluate the state of their oral health, and offer care tips that can help them get a healthier smile.  

It is important to consult with a pediatric dentist before beginning any teeth-whitening treatment for your child. This way, you can help earn your child a brighter smile under the professional supervision of a pediatric dentist, and you can avoid potential painful side effects common with at-home teeth-whitening products.

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