While most people will experience their teeth yellowing and staining, it is no wonder that children go through the same ordeal. Just as in adults, kids can end up with yellow or stained teeth for several reasons, such as plaque, weak tooth enamel, certain types of food, and so on.
If you thought only adults get their teeth whitened, think again. Teeth whitening for children is very common, especially in elementary school children. Join us as we elaborate on some of the hot topics around whitening children’s teeth and how safe the whole process is.
Growing Concern About Whitening Children’s Teeth
Even though most parents won’t consider whitening their kids’ teeth, there are those that will try the treatment for a few reasons. Firstly, as children grow, they become more aware of their looks, and their teeth play a significant role in how they perceive themselves.
It’s totally understandable that parents are concerned about whitening their kids’ teeth at a young age. It’s also probably safe to say that the concern is mainly the result of a lack of information about the whole process. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) urges parents to be cautious about using over-the-counter teeth-whitening products on young children since a lot of them are still new and not sufficiently evaluated as safe or effective.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe for Children?
Addressing the issue of whitening kids’ teeth, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) acknowledged the insufficient research involving whitening kids’ teeth. Therefore, this reputable institution could not take a stance on whether children younger than 15 should whiten their teeth.
In general, until the teeth are fully formed and permanent, and any orthodontic treatments and aids have been completed, children are not recommended to bleach their teeth.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
If children younger than 15 use teeth-whitening products, they are potentially becoming vulnerable to the following issues:
- Increased teeth sensitivity
- Dentin demineralization
- Variations in tooth color
- Injure tooth pulp or nerves, etc.
Lack of Research on Long-Term Effects
As mentioned, there are still insufficient scientific studies to support the long-term effects of whitening teeth in kids. According to a publication by the AAPD, 1 in every 2 to 3 adult dental patients might develop tooth sensitivity and/or gingival irritation after tooth bleaching, which can become a traumatic experience for children.
Professional Opinion and Recommendations
Dental and oral professionals strongly debate the need for children to whiten their teeth until they are 15 or sometimes even 18 years old. Pediatric dentistry associations recommend that children’s teeth not be bleached until all teeth are entirely formed, the enamel on the permanent teeth is fully calcified, and any orthodontic treatments have been completed.
Top Teeth Whitening Options for Children
Before you start – children who still have any baby teeth should not have their teeth whitened.
Parents can decide to whiten their kids’ teeth using natural remedies and special teeth-whitening products that are deemed safe and doctor-recommended.
Natural Teeth Whitening
If you’re looking for natural ways to whiten your child’s teeth, we have some tips that might help! Using items you may already have at home, here are four quick and easy ways to see the results you’re looking for.
- Brush with baking soda: Baking soda is known for scrubbing stains away from teeth and keeping bacteria at bay. To use, simply mix baking soda (1 teaspoon) with two teaspoons of water and create a paste. Ask your child to brush their teeth using this paste, and over time, you may see a noticeable whitening effect.
- Use hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that can whiten tooth color while also fighting bacteria that contribute to tooth decay. However, be sure to monitor the dosage and use this method under parental guidance.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: High-fiber fruits and vegetables can help remove surface stains from your child’s teeth while also providing important vitamins and minerals for overall tooth health.
- Maintain good oral hygiene habits: Apart from the specific whitening tips outlined above, maintaining good oral hygiene habits such as regular brushing and flossing can go a long way in keeping your child’s teeth healthy and white.
Teeth Whitening Products
If you feel like the natural remedies for whitening your child’s teeth don’t deliver the results you expected, you can try some teeth-whitening products to do the job. For example, there are the NatruSmile whitening strips containing organic ingredients that doctors recommend. You get professional-level whiteness of the teeth without harming the tooth’s enamel.
In addition, there are also whitening toothpastes that are gentle on the teeth, but make sure you consult with your dentist first.
Parents’ Role and Considerations
As parents, it’s up to us to decide what’s best for our children before they can make that decision themselves. Parents play an important role in deciding whether or not to whiten their child’s teeth, and there are several considerations to keep in mind. While teeth whitening can be an effective way to improve the appearance of your child’s smile, it’s important to understand the potential risks and to consider whether it’s appropriate for your child’s specific situation.
Whitening children’s teeth is not generally recommended unless there is a specific medical reason. Baby teeth play an important role in a child’s overall development and are best cared for with good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing.
Teeth whitening, while generally safe for adults, can be more complicated for children. There are several potential risks associated with teeth whitening in kids. It involves increased sensitivity, damage to the tooth’s enamel, and irritation of the gums, which can traumatize young children.
Ultimately, consult a dental professional about whitening your child’s teeth. Always consider your child’s specific needs and any potential risks or complications.
Key Takeaway: Whitening Children’s Teeth
A flashy smile is a great asset and something you can correct at a certain age under the right circumstances. Whitening your child’s teeth is not an essential requirement, nor is it something that can’t wait until the child’s teeth fully develop.
If you’re adamant about whitening your child’s teeth, go for the natural options first, like brushing with baking soda or enjoying fruits and veggies that clean the surface of the teeth naturally.
Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings may be a safer and more effective way to keep your child’s teeth healthy and looking their best.
Luciana joined our team as a mum blogger in 2020. A dedicated mum to a lively daughter and a dog, Luna, Luciana brings authenticity and passion to every post. Her expertise in parenting and lifestyle topics offers practical, relatable advice for real-life situations.