The enamel on your child’s teeth is subject to stains, erosion, and tooth decay from the foods and beverages they love to eat. As a parent, you want to help your kids maintain a healthy, bright smile. If you are someone who whitens your teeth regularly, you may be wondering if teeth whitening products are also safe for kids and teens.
For kids, the most effective ways to help preserve their enamel and keep their smile white don’t include at-home whitening kits. There are several teeth whitening solutions available to help keep those pearly whites bright, and Hinsdale Dentistry is here to help!
At-Home Teeth Whitening Recommendations
The first rule in whitening products for children is if your child still has baby teeth, it is not recommended. Children under the age of 16 should avoid any at-home whitening products because they contain high levels of hydrogen peroxide that may cause harm to their tooth enamel. Damage to tooth enamel at a young age can cause irreversible yellow teeth that can never be repaired or replaced.
Risks and Side Effects of Teeth Whitening In Children
Increased Tooth Sensitivity
Most professional and over-the-counter whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide as their active ingredient. This causes some people to experience an increase in tooth sensitivity from whitening products either during a whitening treatment or afterward when drinking or eating hot or cold products.
Tooth enamel demineralization represents a partial dissolving of the surface enamel of the tooth. Demineralization is the earliest stage of tooth decay and is most commonly seen on the visible surfaces of teeth, often appearing as white spots or lesions.
Damage to the Gum Tissue
Soft tissue or gum irritation caused by teeth whitening gel is considered a chemical burn, and comparable to a sunburn. Whitening will not cause any permanent damage to your gums; however, temporary gum irritation is among the risk factors of teeth whitening.
Variations in Tooth Color
If your child still has baby teeth in addition to their permanent teeth, these teeth are already noticeably different in color before any whitening treatment. This contrast would be magnified following a whitening procedure.
Increased Risk in User Error
Many children under the age of 16 should not use at-home whitening products, and should especially never use them unsupervised. Side effects of whitening products can be magnified if these treatments are left on for too long or misused.
Teeth Whitening Alternatives for Kids
There are many natural, safe ways of preserving the whiteness of your child’s enamel without the use of harsh chemicals or bleach. These natural alternatives to whitening products are ideal for children under the age of 16 that still have baby teeth.
Ensure Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques
Floss. As soon as a child has two teeth that touch, it’s essential to show them how to floss correctly to remove plaque, which can coat the teeth and make them appear yellow.
Brush. Use a pea-sized amount of whitening toothpaste twice a day that includes fluoride will help remove starch and sugars from their teeth, keeping them as white as possible.
Eat More Hard Fruits and Vegetables
Foods, including celery, carrots, apples, and pears, can help to remove surface stains from teeth. Beyond being good for your health, eating a diet rich in hard fruits and vegetables can also help to clean and whiten teeth.
One of the biggest culprits of tooth decay is sugar and acidity found in foods and beverages. Limiting or eliminating these from your child’s diet is an excellent way to help preserve enamel and keep teeth white.
Have Teeth Professionally Cleaned Regularly
Your child should be seeing a dentist regularly by their first birthday, according to the American Dental Association. Routine dental exams and cleanings will help to prevent future cavities and keep your child’s teeth as clean and healthy as possible. Call Hinsdale Dentistry today to schedule your child’s next pediatric dentistry exam.