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Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

You may have noticed that your child's teeth aren't quite the same shade as yours and considered bringing them in for teeth whitening. For a few important reasons, our Winnipeg dentists do not recommend that children and teens have their teeth whitened.

Our Winnipeg dentists don’t recommend and will not perform teeth whitening for children or teens. Here are some of the reasons why we advise against this:

1. While they look discoloured, they may actually not be.

When your child begins to have their adult teeth erupt, you may notice a variation in the colour of each tooth. As a result, you may be wondering whether 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 adult teeth appear unusually yellow when they’re 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. There has not been adequate testing of this treatment on children.

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.

What are some of the common causes of tooth discolouration in children?

Some of the typical reasons that teeth become stained or discoloured are:

  • 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

What are some ways that you can help them keep their teeth white?

While we do not recommend professional tooth whitening, we can suggest the use of whitening toothpaste. This will help brighten their teeth but in a more gentle way. Additionally, foods and drinks that cause staining, such as dark sodas, can be avoided.

If you would like to learn more about keeping your kid's teeth bright and healthy, speak with our dentists at Sturgeon Creek Dental.

If you would like to know more about which services are beneficial to your child, don’t hesitate to request an appointment with our Winnipeg dentists.

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