The Truth About Tooth Whitening
Do your child’s teeth appear discolored? If they’re not as white as he/she wants them to be, you may be thinking about tooth whitening as an option. Before you start looking into whitening products and procedures, it’s important to know the truth about tooth whitening.
How Do Teeth Become Discolored?
The American Dental Association (ADA) cites five main reasons why a person’s teeth may become discolored. They include food and drink, tobacco use, age, trauma, and medications. Generally, those factors do not apply to most children. Of those five, however, food and drink and injury are the most common causes of tooth discoloration in kids.
When we think of foods that stain our teeth, we think of coffee and red wine. Your child should not be drinking either of those. However, all foods and drinks can actually lead to discoloration. If the child isn’t brushing and flossing correctly or regularly, the teeth can change color over time.
The other cause we mentioned was injury to the mouth. After an injury, a tooth responds by laying down more dentin, causing it to look darker. If your child’s mouth was hit and subsequently injured during a sports accident, for example, that could be the reason for the discoloration.
Is Tooth Whitening Safe for Kids?
Most tooth whitening methods use bleaching agents to break down and remove stains. It may take several sessions before you start to see results. Sometimes, the teeth can become as many as eight shades brighter. After each session, it’s normal for teeth to be more sensitive than usual. This process can either be done in a dentist’s office or at home. But, is it safe for kids?
Tooth whitening with bleach is not recommended for most children. It’s primarily used on adult permanent teeth. If your child still has all or some of their baby teeth, bleaching can result in a mismatched appearance. But, even if they do have all of their adult teeth, it’s best to wait until the enamel is completely calcified. Bleaching will also not work for crowns or other types of tooth restorations.
If you’re looking for ways to whiten your child’s teeth, talk to your dentist about it. They’ll examine his/her gums and teeth and determine the best option based on their health and age. In addition, always consult a dentist before having your child try any over-the-counter whitening products.
Are There Other Ways to Whiten Teeth?
In-office dental bleaching is the most effective form of tooth whitening, but it’s not the only one. There are many products that claim to whiten teeth, ranging from toothpaste and gum to milk and cheese. These things may help, but they probably won’t provide the results you’re hoping for. This is especially true if there is significant staining. And remember, regularly brushing and flossing is an extremely important way to prevent tooth discoloration in the first place.
Curious about tooth whitening options for your child? Contact Tooth Fairy Smiles today to make an appointment. Our team can answer all your questions and recommend a plan to preserve their dental health.