There are two main reasons our Whitehorse dentists don't think children or teenagers should get their teeth whitened:
1. Their teeth are probably not actually discoloured.
Erupting adult teeth can appear a little discoloured, especially when compared to the baby teeth that remain in the mouth. As a result, parents ask whether it would make sense to have their children’s teeth whitened.
It is very 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 naturally yellow and can make adult teeth appear more stained next to the 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 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:
- 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 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
Your child or teen can still help prevent staining and discolouration with whitening toothpaste. Additionally, foods and drinks that cause staining, such as dark sodas, can be avoided. This helps limit the need for cosmetic whitening.
If you want to learn more about teeth whitening for children, you can reach out to one of the dentists at Klondyke Dental Centre.