Our Revelstoke 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 probably aren't 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. Because of this, they ask if they should have their children’s teeth whitened.
Although, 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.
This perceived discolouration generally sorts itself out after all of the baby teeth have fallen out. This is why whitening is usually completely unnecessary for children and young teens.
2. It's unknown if whitening is safe for developing teeth.
Most dentists wont whiten children’s teeth because we simply don’t know if it will be safe. There is little data available to tell us what the effects of whitening agents would be on teeth that are still developing, so it’s best to be cautious.
Why children's teeth may be discoloured
There are many potential causes of teeth discolouration in kids including:
- Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy
- Pigmentation due to food and beverage stains
- Poor dental hygiene habits
- Tooth decay
- Decalcification of enamel due to the removal of braces
- Intake of medications that contain iron (vitamin supplements)
- Nerve damage or tooth trauma
- Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding
- Excessive fluoride due to the use of infant formula combined with fluoridated water
Ways you can help prevent staining
Since teeth whitening procedures are not an option, your child or teen can still help prevent staining and discolouration with the use of 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 talk to one of the dentists at Revelstoke Dental Centre.