Is It Safe for My Child to Whiten Their Teeth? How?

As your child’s smile begins to blossom into his or her permanent grin, you may notice that his or her baby teeth are significantly whiter and brighter than his or her secondary teeth. This is completely normal! Primary teeth tend to naturally appear whiter, which tends to worry some parents. These concerns lead to the question, “Is my child old enough for teeth whitening?”

Many dental professionals have different opinions on an acceptable age for teeth whitening in youth. That being said, the discussed age range tends to float around 14-18. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends waiting on teeth whitening until a child’s tooth pulp is fully formed, which is typically around the age of 15.

To reduce the level of tooth sensitivity, a safe age to go by is 18. It is important to let the enamel on your child’s permanent teeth completely mature, which takes 2-3 years after original eruption. Hydrogen peroxide, the leading chemical in teeth whitening, is typically safe in adult products. However, at-home bleaching products can contain up to 14% hydrogen peroxide concentration, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The higher the concentration, the greater chances of the whitening product having an adverse effect on your child’s smile.

Teens and children also have higher tendencies to apply the whitening products incorrectly, due to lack of experience and education. There’s a shortage of studies and data proving the safety of teeth whitening products on children. Currently, there are no solid studies verifying that these processes are 100% safe for young adults. Teens and children who attempt to whiten their smiles themselves may leave the whitening strips on for too long, or they could even swallow the bleaching product, creating a health hazard.

For individuals under the age of 18, the best solution for a whiter smile is to adopt proper oral hygiene products and regular visits to your dentist. Instead of using potentially harmful bleaching products, dental professionals recommend avoiding soda and utilizing whitening toothpaste, which is oftentimes gentler than bleaches and does not alter the intrinsic color of the tooth. You can find several brands of whitening toothpaste with mild abrasives or polishing agents at your local drug store.

Unlike an over-the-counter solution, your dentist can screen and monitor your teenager during the whitening process to ensure it is personalized, safe, and effective.

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!