Our Clarenville 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 are probably not actually discoloured.
Parents will sometimes notice that their children's erupting adult teeth look a little yellow, especially when they are compared to baby teeth that remain in their mouth. As a result, they will ask whether or not it would make sense to have their children's teeth whitened.
However, 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.
The appearance of discolouration here will generally sort itself out once all your child's baby teeth have fallen out. Because of this, whitening is usually totally unnecessary for young teenagers and children.
2. We don’t know if whitening is safe for developing teeth.
Most dentists will not whiten children’s teeth because the fact is, we simply don’t know if it’s safe to do so. There is little data available to tell us what the effects of whitening agents would be on teeth that are still developing, and so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Causes of tooth discolouration in kids
There are many possible causes of teeth discolouration in children:
- Tooth decay
- Poor dental hygiene habits
- Nerve damage or tooth trauma
- Pigmentation due to food and beverage stains
- Intake of medications that contain iron (vitamin supplements)
- Decalcification of enamel due to the removal of braces
- Excessive fluoride due to use of infant formula combined with fluoridated water
- Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy
- Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding
How to help them prevent staining
Since teeth whitening procedures aren't an option for your child or teenagers, they need to rely on other things to prevent discolouration and staining such as the use of whitening toothpaste. On top of this, food and drinks that can cause staining such as dark sodas should be avoided.
If you want to learn more about teeth whitening for children, you can reach out to one of the dentists at Elliott Dental Studio.