Many adults look for ways to keep their youthful appearance, and whitening stained teeth is certainly one way to regain a beaming smile. Lately, there’s also been a trend among children and teenagers wanting to brighten their smiles, and many parents are wondering if this is a good idea. Is it safe? Will it interfere with a child’s developing teeth? Here’s more information on the procedure and potential dangers of whitening younger teeth.
Troubles with Teeth Whitening in Children.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry issued a policy statement recently that discourages full-mouth whitening in children or teenagers who don’t have all of their permanent teeth. If children whiten their teeth while they still have baby teeth, they can end up with mismatched teeth. Once the primary teeth fall out and the new permanent teeth come in, they will have some degree of natural color, which could clash with the artificially whitened teeth, and later treatments to match them may not be successful. Other concerns with younger people wanting whiter teeth is not that the at-home products are terribly unsafe when used properly, but that there’s a higher incidence of user error with younger patients. Adults can typically read and understand directions better and when kids use products such as whitening strips by themselves, they have a tendency to leave the product on far longer than recommended. Since most whitening products contain a bleaching agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, this raises the risk of an adverse effect from the product.
What Pediatric Dentistry Can Do.
In many cases, especially after your teenager’s braces are removed, a thorough professional cleaning can do a lot to brighten a smile, making a professional or at-home whitening procedure not very necessary. Other ways to keep a child’s smile bright is to make sure his or her oral care habits are up to par, and that staining foods and drinks are kept to a minimum. If your child still wants whiter teeth, make an appointment to discuss the options available.