Is Whitening Your Child's Teeth Safe?
Your child's teeth are a little yellow. You're looking into whitening techniques, but are they safe for your child? Here's a look at all the risks and facts associating with teeth whitening for children.
There Isn't Any Clear Data
It's important to be honest, and the truth is that there is no clear data on whether teeth whitening products are safe for children. However, the products use hydrogen peroxide to lighten teeth, which is a bleach. In small amounts for adults, the products won't cause too much harm, but a child's system isn't able to handle as much. That 30-60 minute time period of hydrogen peroxide being soaked into the teeth—and potentially the gums—could lead to health problems.
The lack of studies and data isn't a good thing. In fact, because of this, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests avoiding them so you don't put your child's health at risk. Children between 14 and 18 could try them, but it is best to wait for the child to turn 18.
Yellow Teeth Aren't Necessarily Unhealthy
One important fact to point out is that the teeth being yellow does not mean they are unhealthy. Permanent teeth will be darker than the baby teeth, as the pulp is a darker color. It's important to look at other factors, like signs of dental cavities, gum disease, and plaque.
There are ways to naturally brighten the smile, including through the use of whitening toothpaste. This is recommended over the whitening products, as they tend to use polishing agents or mild abrasions rather than bleaches and chemicals. There are also dentistry treatments available during routine checkups.
There Is Room for Parental Error
One of the biggest issues against the use of whitening strips is that parents will do the work themselves. There is the risk of error when applying them, putting the mouth at risk of the bleach. Parents also sometimes leave the children to do the task themselves, and they may not fully read or understand the instructions.
Leaving the strips on the teeth is dangerous, and there is also the risk of swallowing the strips. Some children will also have a sensitivity or allergy to the bleach, causing a reaction or problem afterwards.
While you may be worried about yellow permanent teeth in your child, it doesn't necessarily mean your child's mouth is unhealthy. For more information, contact Marc E. Segal, D.D.S. or a similar dental professional.