Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

For a few important reasons, our Brooklyn dentists advise against teeth whitening for children and young teens.

Because teeth whitening is an adult cosmetic procedure, our Brooklyn dentists do not advise it for kids or teenagers. There are principally two causes for this:

1. Their teeth are probably 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.

Adult teeth, on the other hand, typically appear more yellow than baby teeth. This occurs due to the dentin content of adult teeth (the layer of the teeth directly beneath the enamel). When adult teeth are placed next to baby teeth in the mouth, the colour of dentin, which is yellow, can cause the adult teeth to appear unusually yellow.

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.

Because it is unknown whether teeth whitening procedures for children are safe, the majority of dentists will not perform them. It's best to err on the side of caution because there isn't much information on the effects of whitening agents on teeth that are still developing.

Causes of tooth discolouration in kids

There are many possible causes of teeth discolouration in children:

  • Poor dental hygiene habits
  • 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
  • Tooth decay
  • Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy

How to help them prevent staining

Your child or teen can still help prevent staining and discoloration if teeth whitening procedures are not an option by using whitening toothpaste. Additionally, stains-causing foods and beverages like 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 Brooklyn Dental.

If you have questions about teeth whitening or about your children’s oral development, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our Brooklyn dentists.

(902) 757-2583