There are two main reasons our Winnipeg dentists don't recommend teeth whitening for children and young teens:
1. Their teeth are probably not actually discoloured.
Parents sometimes notice that their children’s erupting adult teeth look a bit yellow compared to the baby teeth that remain in the mouth. However, it is very normal for adult teeth to look more yellow than baby teeth.
Adult teeth contain much more dentin - the layer underneath the enamel - which is yellow in colour. This can make the adult teeth appear unusually yellow when they are not actually stained or discoloured. This perceived discolouration typically sorts itself out once all the baby teeth have fallen out. For this reason, most dentists agree that whitening is typically 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
Since teeth whitening for children and young teens is not an option, there are a couple things they can do to avoid discolouration in the first place. Whitening toothpaste is usually a good method for avoiding teeth stains, as well as staying away from foods and drinks that cause staining, such as dark sodas and coffee.
If you want to learn more about teeth whitening for children, you can reach out to one of the dentists at Fort Rouge Dental.