Unfortunately, there are lots of influences out there that play a role in how kids perceive themselves these days — some for the better and some for the worse. When it comes to being self-conscious, a child’s teeth and smile can have a major impact and having a bright, white smile is something we all strive for. Parents and children alike, commonly ask if teeth whitening is safe for kids, so let’s dive right into it!

What is Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening refers to a number of different methods for lightening teeth by removing stains and other forms of discoloration. It’s one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because of its simplicity (in terms of procedures) as well as it’s great ability to improve a smile.

Most Common Forms of Tooth Whitening

  1. Whitening Toothpaste: lots of toothpastes on the market today are equipped with some form of “whitening” ingredients. Most often, there are abrasives and/or chemicals in these toothpastes designed to remove surface stains in order to improve the brightness of teeth.

  2. Whitening Strips: similar to whitening toothpastes, you can purchase many different whitening strips over-the-counter. Whitening strips are generally placed on and adhere to teeth and contain a whitening agent, although weaker than products that are available from a dentist or orthodontist. With regular use, whitening strips help to remove surface stains and discoloration, leaving you with a brighter smile.

  3. Professional Whitening Gel: dentists and orthodontics will often use a professional strength gel as part of their teeth whitening procedures. The gel is applied directly to the surface of the teeth and a special light or laser is used to speed up the process. This alternative to over-the-counter products, usually consists of 1-3 sessions lasting 30 to 90 minutes each.

Is Tooth Whitening Safe For Kids?

To date, there have been very few, if any, tests that prove teeth whitening is unsafe for children. However, your child should wait until the enamel on their permanent teeth has full calcified before they undergo any sort of professional whitening treatment. Generally speaking, this doesn’t happen until about 2 full years after a child’s adult teeth arrive.

Thinking about using an over-the-counter whitening procedure on your child at home? It’s always best to consult with a dental professional or an orthodontist first.