For adults, there is a lot of pressure to make sure that teeth stay sparkling white. It’s a sign that we take care of ourselves, take pride in our appearance, and don’t give into bad habits. With kids, we may have the natural inclination that their teeth should be just as sparkling, but often with children’s teeth the gentlest approach possible is the best and a lot of whitening agents are not so gentle.
When Can Kids Whiten Their Teeth?
Both professional and at-home teeth whitening systems can lead to overly sensitive teeth, so it’s best to not expose younger children to these procedures. Experts have recommended that the earliest age at which children should be considered for teeth whitening is 14. The reason for this is that 14 is generally accepted as the year when tooth pulp has fully formed and so there is less risk of creating long-term sensitivity issues. However, many pediatric dentists would say that 17 or 18 is a much safer age to start whitening.
What If My Kid’s Teeth Are Yellow?
If you have noticed a drastic difference between baby and adult teeth in terms of yellow stains, don’t worry! Baby teeth are naturally smaller and whiter, so that means that adult teeth are more prone to stains and they’re bigger and easier to see as well. It’s important to remember that teeth whitening is generally a cosmetic issue. While stains can be a sign of improper care, it doesn’t mean that the tooth is unhealthy.
What Are The Alternatives?
Instead of turning to the usual teeth whitening agents, use some of these gentler alternatives when your child has stained or yellowed teeth. Whitening toothpastes are much gentler and easier on teeth and gums than kits or bleaching, so it is generally accepted that they can be used on older kids. The next step to improving the appearance of teeth is to cut sodas and sugary treats out of your kid’s diet—this alone will make a huge difference in the food stains that are getting stuck to kids’ teeth.
Lastly, and most importantly, visit the dentist! A dentist can do a professional cleaning to remove a lot of plague and tartar that will improve stains, especially if your child has recently had braces removed. They can also better advise you on more ways to keep your kids teeth sparkling clean without turning to potentially harmful whitening agents.