Because this cosmetic treatment is not appropriate for children and teenagers, our Okotoks dentists do not recommend teeth whitening for them. This is due to two major factors:
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, are perfectly normal to appear yellower than baby teeth. This is due to adult teeth having significantly more dentin (the layer of the teeth directly beneath the enamel). Dentin is a yellow substance that can cause adult teeth to appear unusually yellow when they are next to baby teeth in the mouth.
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.
Most dentists will not whiten children's teeth because we simply do not know if it is safe. There is little data to tell us what the effects of whitening agents would be on developing teeth, 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:
- 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
Because teeth whitening procedures are not an option, your child or teen can use whitening toothpaste to help prevent staining and discoloration. Furthermore, foods and beverages that cause staining, such as 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 Village Lane Dental Centre.