You may feel as though your child's teeth are not as bright as they could be and may be considering whitening their teeth. Our Chilliwack dentists discuss some of the reasons for tooth discolouration in kids and why they do not recommend teeth whitening for children or teens.
Our Chilliwack dentists don’t recommend teeth whitening for children and teens because there is no evidence to support the efficacy and safety of this procedure for kids.
1. Baby teeth and permanent teeth are actually different colours
When your child's adult teeth first erupt they may appear yellow or discoloured, especially when compared to the baby teeth that remain in the mouth. As a result, they ask whether it would make sense to have their children’s teeth whitened.
While it may seem off, this discolouration is actually entirely natural. This happens because adult teeth contain significantly more dentin (the layer of the teeth directly beneath the enamel). Dentin is yellow in colour and can make the adult teeth appear unusually yellow when they’re next to baby teeth in the mouth.
This perceived discolouration typically sorts itself out once all the baby teeth have fallen out. For this reason, whitening is usually completely unnecessary for children and young teens.
2. There is no evidence to show that teeth whitening is safe for children
Most dentists will not whiten children’s teeth because the fact is, we simply don’t know if it’s safe to do so. There is little data available to tell us what the effects of whitening agents would be on teeth that are still developing and our dentists will always recommend keeping to tried and true in order to be safe.
Common causes for tooth discolouration in children
There are many possible causes of teeth discolouration in children:
- Poor dental hygiene habits
- Pigmentation due to food and beverage stains
- Intake of medications that contain iron (vitamin supplements)
- Decalcification of enamel due to the removal of braces
- Nerve damage or tooth trauma
- Excessive fluoride due to use of infant formula combined with fluoridated water
- Tooth decay
- Mother is taking tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding
- Medical conditions that hinder teeth development during infancy
How you can prevent tooth discolouration in children
Since teeth whitening procedures are not an option, your child or teen can still help prevent staining and discolouration with the use of whitening toothpaste. Additionally, foods and drinks that cause staining, such as dark sodas, can be avoided.
If you want to learn more about teeth whitening for children, you can reach out to one of the dentists at Young Street Dental.