What Teeth Whitening Options Are Safe for Kids?

teeth whitening for kids

Teeth whitening for kids does not follow the same standard of care as adult teeth whitening.  This may come as a surprise for some parents and teens, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s official position is that because of a lack of research, whitening strips aren’t safe for kids and teens under the age of 15. But, that doesn’t mean your child has to live with dull-colored teeth. Instead, good hygiene and the right products can help polish those teeth until they gleam – no bleach necessary. Avoiding foods and drinks that can stain teeth, such as soda, can help them retain a whiter smile, and don’t forget to brush twice daily too. Learn about safe ways you can help your kids achieve a whiter smile.

Not Enough Data So Skip the Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are a popular method for whitening teeth, but are not recommended for teeth whitening for kids. The official position of the  American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is that because of a lack of research, whitening strips aren’t safe for kids and teens under the age of 15. White strips for teeth are discouraged for kids and teens primarily because there isn’t enough data available yet to make sure that it is safe for developing teeth and enamel. The AAPD also found a high rate of user error when kids used white strips themselves–like wearing them for too long.  Hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations is typically safe in adult products, but at-home bleaching products have up to a 13-percent hydrogen peroxide concentration. The higher the concentration, the greater chance that bleaching products can have an adverse affect on your child. Not to mention that the strips could pose a choking hazard for certain age groups and have shown to cause varying tooth sensitivity after use.

Tips for Teeth Whitening for Kids

Even though tooth whitening strips are discouraged, there are several methods that can help your child keep a white, brilliant smile.  Excellent teeth whitening for kids involves combining several of these tips simultaneously. Consider the following approaches for teeth whitening for kids:

  • Practice Good Hygiene: Using good tools to clean and polish your teeth is one of the best ways to to practice at-home teeth whitening for kids. Good hygiene helps teeth maintain their whiteness.
  • Work to Preserve the Enamel of the Teeth: Teeth often yellow because the enamel around the tooth surface becomes thin.  Avoiding sugary foods/drinks and acidic drinks (sodas) can help preserve the enamel of their teeth and aid in teeth whitening for kids.  Keeping plaque off their teeth also helps the enamel stay strong. Brush and floss!
  • Avoid Drinks that Stain Teeth: Help your child or teen choose drinks and foods that won’t stain their teeth. Foods/drinks that are known to stain or dull teeth color are: coffee, red fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks, hard candy, berries, tomato sauce and dark-colored vegetables and fruits.  Drink darker beverage through a straw.  when drinking beverages, use a straw to keep stain-causing dyes away from your teeth.
  • Brush Twice Daily with Tooth-Whitening Toothpaste: Use a pea-sized amount of whitening toothpaste with fluoride. This helps remove starch and sugar from the teeth so that the pearly whites can shine through.
  • Have an In-Office Cleaning and Polishing: A professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist also uses abrasion and polishing to remove most external staining caused by food and tobacco.
  • Watch Out for Fluoride and Antibiotics:  Too much fluoride can discolor teeth along with extended use of antibiotics.
  • Schedule an In-Office Teeth Whitening Consultation: Dr. Niles can examine your child’s teeth and make recommendations on what teeth whitening treatments she feels are appropriate.  

Call for a Teeth Whitening for Kids Consultation

Niles Family Dentistry can help you get the information you need to help your child retain a bright, white smile or obtain one!  There are safe methods out there that you can choose that can give you peace of mind and give your child more reasons to smile. Call today for a consultation at (720) 744-0001.  Niles Family Dentistry serves the families of the Niwot, Longmont & Boulder communities. We look forward to meeting you and your family.

Ashley Niles

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