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Are Teeth Whitening Products Safe For Your Teen?

There is an increasing demand for in-office teeth whitening and/or over-the-counter teeth bleaching products for teenagers and concern among parents regarding the safety of such items.

Some of the most common teeth whitening products for teenagers include:

  • Over-the-counter teeth bleaching strips and/or gels
  • Tooth whitening toothpaste
  • Custom-made dental trays and in-office teeth whitening products

While teeth whitening can be used safely on teenagers, it’s important to discuss the options carefully with your dentist to ensure that any potential risks associated with teeth bleaching, including sensitivity and brittleness, are avoided.

At Marlborough Dental Centre, we care for your children’s teeth and offer a wide range of comprehensive dental services from pediatric dentistry to children’s dental exams to ensure the health of your teen’s mouth, gums and teeth.

At What Age Is It Safe For My Teen To Use Teeth Whitening Products?

For everyone, teeth yellowing is a normal part of aging and can be due to many factors including certain foods/drinks, tobacco use and even teeth grinding. If your teenager is feeling conscious about a lacklustre smile, then teeth bleaching may be a good option.

Right Age for Teeth Whitening

Most dentists advise teenagers to wait until the age of 14 before using any teeth bleaching products. By this time, the tooth’s pulp is fully formed, which means that teenagers will experience less sensitivity from the treatment.

Risks of Teeth Whitening For Younger Children

  • Uneven whitening of teeth if your child doesn’t yet have all of his/her permanent teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Irritation along the gum line
  • Greater risk of demineralization

Talk to Your Pediatric Dentist

If you are considering teeth bleaching for your teenager, it’s very important to talk with a dentist before undergoing any treatment. They can best advise whether the procedure is safe for your child and can ensure the long-term health of their gums and teeth.

Over-the Counter Teeth Bleaching vs In-Office Teeth Whitening For Teens

If your child is complaining about stained or yellowing teeth, there are two main teeth bleaching options to consider:

  • Over-the-counter products
  • Professional teeth whitening

While the second option may come with slightly higher dental fees, there are many reasons why you should consider an in-office whitening procedure rather than OTC products for your teen. These include:

1. Teeth whitening products can be dangerous if used incorrectly

All teeth bleaching products are based primarily on hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and while a reasonable dose can be applied safely to teeth, these materials can be dangerous if they come into contact with exposed tissue areas such as the gums, lips or cheeks.

Having your teen’s teeth whitened professionally means that the dentist can take the necessary precautions to ensure that any teeth bleaching is not detrimental to their dental health.

This is done using:

  • Custom fitting trays to ensure the whitening agent doesn’t leak

  • A cheek retractor to protect the gums so no tissue comes into contact with the bleaching material.

2. Your dentist has access to more powerful teeth bleaching products

Over-the-counter teeth bleaching products contain a much lower level of concentration of peroxide (4-14%) compared to the whitening materials available to dentists (35%). This means that just one teeth whitening treatment by your dentist can provide dramatic, long lasting results.

So while OTC products may come at a lower cost, it may be worth considering an in-office teeth whitening treatment for your teeth, given their potential to achieve such successful results.

3. Not all patients are suitable candidates for teeth whitening

Teeth bleaching is a popular procedure and can provide very safe and effective results for your teen. However, it is not a suitable treatment for everyone and may adversely affect your child’s oral health if they suffer from gum disease or other dental problems.

Before allowing your teen to undergo any bleaching treatment, it’s recommended that you book a consultation with a dentist to help determine whether teeth whitening is safe for them.

Tips on Keeping Your Teen’s Smile Bright & White

While visiting the dentist can keep your teen’s smile bright and healthy, good oral care should always begin at home. In order to keep your child’s teeth white, you should encourage them to:

  • Floss and brush daily

  • Avoid soda, tea, coffee and nicotine as these products stain teeth

  • Drink soda/coffee through a straw to prevent discoloration and brush teeth after consuming the beverages

  • Brush teeth carefully, especially if your teen wears braces. If food particles become stuck between the braces and teeth, it can cause discoloration as well as cavities.

Call Today

To find out more about our children’s dentistry services including pediatric dentistry and teeth whitening, contact our Calgary dental clinic today at 403-248-2066 or fill in our online contact form.

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