Teens and Teeth Whitening
Many teenagers struggle with self-esteem issues based on how they look. If your teen has yellowed teeth, they might want to whiten them so they can feel more confident. The Academy of General Dentistry advises teens to wait to use whitening procedures until at least age 14, as the tooth’s pulp is fully formed by this stage. Even after age 14, teenagers need to visit their dentist for advice and approval on teeth whitening products. Without supervision or expertise, whitening materials can aggravate sensitive teeth and gums or damage existing dental work.
White strips coat the teeth in a hydrogen peroxide solution for 15 to 60 minutes. Hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations is usually safe for adults, but at-home white strips can have a concentration of up to 13 percent. This high concentration can have an adverse effect on a child’s teeth.
While adults can be trusted to read the instructions on whitening products, but this is not always the case with teenagers and kids. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry found a high rate of user error when youngsters used white strips by themselves. These errors included leaving the strips on for too long and accidentally swallowing the product.
When a high concentration of bleaching agent is left on the teeth for a long period of time, it can cause significant tooth sensitivity. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have a pre-teen or teenager who wants to whiten their teeth.
To avoid damaging your teen’s teeth with bleach, try alternative options. Buy them whitening toothpaste and encourage good oral hygiene. Teach your teen to avoid foods and drinks that can stain the teeth and discourage them from ever using nicotine. If your teenager has braces, make sure they thoroughly clean their teeth to avoid discoloration and cavities.