No, kids should not use whitening toothpaste.
Most whitening toothpaste works by incorporating abrasive agents like silica or bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide to remove surface stains on your teeth.
These ingredients can be too abrasive for the developing enamel of your child's teeth.
Therefore, any whitening treatment should be avoided for children as they can cause premature wear and tear on the tooth enamel.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about whitening toothpaste and whether it's safe for children.
How does whitening toothpaste work?
Whitening toothpaste works thanks to two main types of ingredients:
Abrasive agents (like silica)
Bleaching agents (like hydrogen peroxide)
Over time, regular brushing with whitening toothpaste may visibly brighten your teeth compared to using non-whitening toothpaste.
However, whitening toothpaste mainly affects surface stains and will not change the intrinsic color of your teeth.
Potential Benefits of Teeth Whitening for Kids
When used to brush properly, whitening toothpaste can prevent staining and provide your children's teeth with safe outcomes.
Some benefits include:
Aesthetic Appeal: Just like adults, children can be self-conscious about the color of their teeth
Early Prevention: Whitening toothpaste can prevent surface stains from settling in, which is especially beneficial if a child consumes foods and drinks that can stain teeth
Positive Reinforcement: The visible results might motivate kids to maintain good oral hygiene habits
That being said, especially for young children, the risks of teeth whitening outweigh the benefits.
Potential Risks of Teeth Whitening for Kids
Teeth whitening treatments can pose many risks for children's teeth, such as:
Tooth Sensitivity: The abrasive or bleaching agents can make kids' teeth more sensitive over time.
Overuse of Toothpaste: Children might use too much toothpaste, thinking it will lead to quicker whitening, which can be harmful to their enamel
Damage to Enamel: Younger children have softer enamel, and abrasive toothpaste could cause premature wear and tear
It's best to be informed about the risks and benefits of teeth whitening before considering it for your child.
Further, please note that kids should not use adult toothpaste in general as it can be too abrasive for their developing teeth.
Recommendations for Child Use
Interested in teeth whitening for your children?
Follow this checklist to ensure you do it safely:
Consult a Dentist: Check in with your family's pediatric dentist about the appropriateness of whitening toothpaste for your child's specific needs
Supervise During Brushing: Make sure your children are using an appropriate amount of toothpaste and not swallowing it
Monitor for Sensitivity: Keep an eye out for any signs of tooth sensitivity, as this can happen in adults as well
Better Alternatives for Kids
Teeth whitening is typically not suitable for children, but there are some alternatives, including:
Nano-hydroxyapatite Toothpaste: Certain brands offer kids hydroxyapatite toothpaste which is less abrasive and focuses on cavity prevention
Professional Cleaning: A dental cleaning can remove many surface stains and is safer for children than teeth whitening products
Diet Modification: Limiting foods and drinks that stain teeth can also prevent teeth staining
For adults, there is also the option of professional teeth whitening - talk to your dentist about your options.
Signs Your Child is Ready for Adult Toothpaste
Does it seem like your child is aging out of kids toothpaste?
Well, if the following apply, they may be ready to graduate to adult fluoride-free toothpaste:
Proper Brushing Technique: Your child can effectively brush all surfaces of their teeth without help
No Swallowing: Your child does not swallow toothpaste and spits it out correctly
Dentist's Approval: Your pediatric dentist has given the go-ahead for using adult toothpaste that contains teeth whitening agents
Remember, it's best to pick up a remineralizing toothpaste to prevent tooth decay over time.