Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, General Dental Articles, Oral Care.

teen girl brushes her teethAs your child enters her teen years, she may begin to consider whitening her smile using over-the-counter tooth whitening strips. But as her parent, you’re unsure if smile whitening is safe for her growing grin. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to provide you some insight on whitening strips and some risks of using them.

Let’s Look at the Research

As the popularity of over-the-counter white strips increases and buying them becomes easier, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) began conducting research on the safety of children and teens using whitening strips. Below we’ve outlined some of the main results found as part of these studies.

Usability

Although whitening strips come with instructions, the AAPD’s research found a high user error when kids or teens tried using the product on their own. While this may seem like no big deal, if used incorrectly, teens expose themselves to risks of leaving the strips on for too long or even swallowing the product.

Hydrogen Peroxide Content

The active ingredient in whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide. While the amount of hydrogen peroxide differs from product to product, some strips can contain as much as 13 percent. This isn’t usually a problem for adults, but the higher the hydrogen peroxide content, the more risks there are to kids and teens.

Sensitivity

As you may know a common side effect of using whitening strips is increased tooth sensitivity. This side effect isn’t limited to just teens or children either as many adults report sensitivity after using them. While it’s not clear if teens are at greater risk for more sensitivity than adults, it’s still a concern.  

So, Are Whitening Strips Safe for Teens?

According to the AAPD and your pediatric dentist in Long Island, more research is needed to truly take a position on whether whitening strips are safe for kids or teens. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child can’t do anything to brighten her smile.

Alternatives to Smile Whitening Strips

There are some surprisingly easy ways that help get, and keep, teeth nice and white:

  • Make sure your teen is brushing her teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Avoid foods known to stain smiles including soda, coffee, berries, and pasta sauce
  • Have her see the dentist twice a year

The team at our Long Island pediatric dental office is committed to your child’s oral health and is here to get her a smile that’s not only strong and healthy, but also one that makes her feel confident. We welcome her (and you!) to talk with us about any concerns she may have about her smile so we can work together to resolve them.