We often get asked about whitening when a child’s top permanent teeth start erupting between age 7 and 8. Permanent teeth are naturally not as white as baby teeth. When the new adult teeth come in, they can appear yellow because they are right next to the baby teeth that are naturally lighter. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
We do not recommend using a whitening product on your child’s teeth until they have lost all of their baby teeth and all of their permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth. For most kids, this will be around age 13-14. Even at that age, the permanent teeth are still immature and have large nerves that can make them prone to sensitivity when whitening, therefore it is better to wait a couple more years to whiten the teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry cautions against the use of whitening strips for kids and teens under the age of 15 due to lack of research. Before using any over the counter product, always check the labels to verify safety at your child’s age.
You can help your child retain their brightest smile by promoting a well balanced diet and avoiding foods and drinks that can stain the teeth, such as soda. Also make sure that they maintain good dental hygiene habits, such as brushing well at least two times a day to prevent surface stains and remove plaque.
If you are concerned about the color of your child’s teeth or are interested in whitening, ask our dentists about the best time to do so, and the safest and most effective options.
-John Taggart, DDS