When you become a teenager, you often start to feel conscious about your appearance. So some teens worry about the color of their teeth and want to try to whiten them. Whitening strips are one of the most popular options for making teeth whiter, but they can cause problems for teenagers and their developing teeth. Teeth whitening safety is already important for adults, and teenagers have extra factors to think about. Learn whether you can safely use whitening strips for teenagers and how to avoid common side effects like tooth sensitivity.
Are Whitening Strips Safe for Teenagers?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the jury’s still out on whether teenagers can safely use whitening strips. One of the biggest concerns is making sure that they use the strips correctly. Although teenagers should follow the directions on the package to avoid harm to their teeth, many of them make mistakes. The high hydrogen peroxide content in these products could also affect young teeth differently than adult teeth. We need more data to figure out whether we should worry about the consequences. In the meanwhile, you may want to try alternate solutions to ensure your child’s dental health.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening Strips
Tooth sensitivity is the number one concern when it comes to using whitening strips for patients of any age. It usually goes away after a short time, but sensitivity that lasts could be a sign of something more serious like wear on the enamel.
Professional Teeth Whitening for Teenagers
With so many unknown factors surrounding teen use of whitening strips, a professional can help you and your child find a solution. Your dentist can make an at-home whitening kit that contains less bleach than strips. Or they can whiten the teeth in a dental procedure involving protection and close supervision. If peroxide-based solutions don’t work for your child’s discoloration, your dentist can let you know and give you advice.
Safer Alternatives to Whitening Strips
If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of using peroxide in your child’s mouth, they can try other options that don’t damage enamel, such as:
- Regular brushing and flossing: If the discoloration comes from a lack of a dental hygiene routine, practicing good habits can help. Check with your teen that they’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. If they’d like, they can use a whitening toothpaste that uses abrasives and stain dissolvers to lighten teeth instead of peroxide.
- Dental visits twice a year: Regular professional cleanings reduce staining by removing plaque. A dentist can also identify other issues that could change the color of teeth.
- Dietary changes: Crunchy foods and hard cheeses not only remove food particles, but they also get rid of substances that can stain teeth. Avoiding acidic and tannin-based drinks like coffee and energy drinks also reduces the chance of staining.