Can Children and Teens Get Their Teeth Whitened?

Our Toddlers To Teens dentists advise against teeth whitening for children and young teens for several reasons.

Because teeth whitening is not appropriate for children and teenagers, our Toddlers To Teens dentists do not recommend it. This is due to two major factors:

1. Their teeth are probably not discoloured.

When compared to the baby teeth that remain in the mouth, parents may notice that their children's erupting adult teeth appear yellow. As a result, they wonder if it is worthwhile to have their children's teeth whitened.

Adult teeth, on the other hand, are perfectly normal to appear yellower than baby teeth. This is because adult teeth contain 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 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 Toddlers To Teens.

If you have questions about teeth whitening or about your children’s oral development, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our Steinbach or Winnipeg dentists.