It's completely normal to wish for a beautiful white smile, no matter how old you are. If your child is unhappy with the whiteness of their teeth, they may have asked you about teeth whitening at the dentist's office. Of course, your main concern as a parent is whether this is actually recommended for young people. Whether teeth whitening is recommended for your child depends on a couple of things, starting with your child's age. Here's what you should know about children and teeth whitening.
How Old Should a Child Be For Teeth Whitening?
Whilst each dentist may have their own guidelines for this, the general rule is that if your child still has their baby teeth, they're too young for teeth whitening. Because permanent teeth are stronger than baby teeth, your dentist may recommend waiting for teeth whitening until your child is around 13-14. By that time, most children have all of their permanent teeth.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Yes, teeth whitening is safe, as long as the dentist recommends it for your child. Also, be sure to ask your dentist if the teeth whitener being used on your child meets the Australian Dental Industry Association's safety regulations for teeth whiteners. These regulations state that teeth whiteners used in the dentist's office can have 3-6% hydrogen peroxide or 9-18% carbamide peroxide.
Because in-office teeth whitening used a specialised laser light, many parents worry about that laser exposure. However, you needn't worry about your child's safety in this situation. Your dentist will apply protective coverings to your child's gums to prevent irritation and damage during the whitening process. Your child will also be given safety goggles to wear, which prevents potential eye damage from the laser light used in the curing process.
The whole process of in-office teeth whitening generally takes no more than an hour, and your child will see immediate results. Whilst it's certainly exciting to see such great results straight away, your child needs to know that the results won't last if they're not responsible about oral hygiene.
Maintaining the Results: Is Your Child Ready?
To keep your child's newly whitened teeth looking their best, they'll need to brush and floss twice a day. It's also important to avoid the type of things that caused the discolouration to occur. This means avoiding fizzy drinks, coffee and tea in many cases. Is your child responsible and mature enough to do this right now? If not, it might be best to wait until they're ready to really make the oral hygiene commitment needed to maintain their results.
Overall, in-office teeth whitening can be a great solution for teens with discoloured teeth, but it's usually not recommended for younger kids. Contact a dentist today to learn more about in-office teeth whitening for your child.