Is it Safe to Whiten My Child’s Teeth?

niño_risa_felicidadIf your child has yellow or stained teeth, you may be wondering if it’s okay to use whitening on them. The problem with using tooth whitener on a child is the comparison between baby teeth and permanent teeth. If you use whitening while the child still has baby teeth, then when the child’s permanent teeth come in, they will not match the baby teeth in color. It is best to wait until all of the child’s permanent teeth have erupted, usually around age 12-13. (Except for wisdom teeth)

*It is also important to note that staining of your child’s teeth is often caused by poor dietary habits as well as disease. If your child has staining, consult with your dentist to address the root of the problem.

Once the child’s permanent teeth have come in, your best bet is usually to use over-the-counter whitening strips. These strips take a couple weeks before you notice a difference, but they are typically the best option for a number of reasons. First, it is less expensive. Tooth whiteners are not typically covered by insurance companies, so you’ll save a lot of money by using OTC strips. Second, even though they are less expensive, they are just as effective, and sometimes less abrasive on your child’s teeth!

If you elect to use tooth whitening on your child, try to pre-treat by having your child brush with a desensitizing toothpaste for at least a couple weeks. If your child is using a manual brush, you might consider switching to an electric toothbrush, for example, Sonicare or Oral B. This will help avoid throbbing and pain when the whitening strips are being used.

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