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Is It Okay to Whiten My Child’s Teeth?

July 14, 2020

Growing up can be hard sometimes, especially if your child isn’t feeling confident about showing off their smile. Staining can be caused by all sorts of different things, but is teeth whitening for kids okay? How can you boost your child’s self-esteem about their smile? Continue reading to learn more about the best ways to brighten younger smiles and prevent future staining from occurring.

What Causes Teeth Discoloration in Kids?

There are many reasons that your child’s teeth could be discolored. Some are in their control, while some are not. Here are a few common causes:

  • Inadequate brushing
  • Consuming pigmented foods and beverages
  • Medications and supplements containing iron
  • Tooth trauma
  • Tooth decay
  • Excessive fluoride use
  • Use of certain medications, like tetracycline, while a mother is pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Medical conditions that interfere with teeth development
  • Decalcification of enamel during braces

Can I Take My Child to Have Their Teeth Whitened?

As great and effective as professional teeth whitening is, the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends waiting until a child is at least 14 years of age before considering any tooth whitening procedures. This gives the pulp of the tooth time to completely form and ultimately reduces tooth sensitivity as a result of the procedure. Until then, there are other ways to reduce staining in your child’s smile.

How Can I Help My Child Brighten Their Smile?

There are many regular steps that you can take with your child to reduce and prevent further discoloration of their smile. Here are a few of them:

  • Take your child to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. This can do a lot to remove tooth discoloration on the surface of their teeth as well as find the cause of the stains.
  • Remind your child that they should be brushing every morning and night with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Check to ensure that the toothpaste is ADA-approved. If your child is under the age of three, use only a rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Limit the amount of high-pigmented foods and beverages that could cause additional discoloration. An occasional treat is okay, but frequently indulging on soda, fruit juice, tomato sauce, blueberries, beets, and popsicles can cause stains.
  • When you give your child a sippy cup, stick to water.

By taking some of these steps, or considering professional teeth whitening when your child is old enough, they will be able to show off a brightened smile with confidence!

About the Author

Dr. Tera Pollock is a children’s dentist serving Rowlett, TX and surrounding communities. She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery from Baylor College of Dentistry and has gained over two decades of experience. She is a long-standing member of the Rockwall County Dental Society and has served as secretary for the past eight years. For more information or to schedule an appointment for your child, visit her website or call (469) 284-8895.

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