Pros and Cons of Whitening Teeth for Teens

It’s natural for most people to want white and healthy-looking teeth. A range of options is available to whiten teeth that have become discolored after years of drinking coffee and eating foods with staining properties. Many provide the benefits of a more vibrant and beautiful smile but could also cause problems.

As a parent, you might wonder if it’s safe for your teenager to use teeth whitening products. Of course, you want to do what’s best for them. If whitening their teeth will make them happier and give them the confidence boost they need, you might feel tempted to go for it. However, you likely also worry about the risks.

Recommended Age for Teeth Whitening

Dentists and other experts recommend that you avoid methods of whitening your teen’s teeth until they turn 14. At around 14 years old, all of the baby teeth have fallen out and been replaced with adult teeth. Additionally, this is around the age when the tooth pulp finishes forming, allowing a person to use whitening products without experiencing sensitivity from the ingredients.

It’s critical to consult your child’s dentist before beginning a teeth whitening regimen. As long as the dentist oversees the process, your teenager can whiten their teeth safely and avoid dental problems, such as enamel erosion, soft tissue damage, and gum inflammation.

teen dental care

Teeth Whitening Options for Teens

You’re probably familiar with the different options you can choose from to whiten your child’s teeth. Maybe you used some of these methods yourself and achieved positive results.

Before you proceed with a teeth whitening method, you should consider the pros and cons of each. You should pick one that offers the benefits your child wants with little risk to their oral health and overall well-being.


Many kinds of toothpaste promise a whiter smile. They contain chemical agents and abrasives to remove stains on the surface of the teeth. While they effectively resolve discoloration issues, these chemicals can also damage the enamel.

Enamel is the outer layer of a tooth that protects it from becoming damaged while grinding, chewing, or biting. The enamel also protects the teeth from cold or hot drinks and food.

A teenager might not use whitening toothpaste responsibly. Overexposure to the chemical agents and abrasives in the toothpaste can chip away at the protective enamel and expose the teeth and nerves to acidic drinks, food dyes, and bacteria. Eventually, gum disease can develop.

Whitening Strips

Over-the-counter teeth whitening strips are one of the most popular options available. Many people turn to them because they’re cheaper than a visit to the dentist. However, teenagers often misuse or overuse these products. Additionally, these strips can contain ingredients harmful to the teeth and gums.

If your child wants to try whitening strips, you should supervise them throughout the regimen. Ensure they don’t keep them on their teeth too long or use the strips beyond the recommended number of days.

The main issue with teeth whitening strips purchased from a grocery store or pharmacy is they’re not custom-made. They might not fit properly over your teen’s teeth. If they’re too small, uneven whitening can occur. If they’re too big, the chemical agents used in the strips can lead to gum irritation and soft tissue damage.

whitening trays

Custom Whitening Trays

If your budget allows for it, you could consult a dentist about teeth whitening trays. Custom-design trays fit perfectly around the teeth to prevent the whitening ingredients from resting on the gums and other areas where they don’t belong.

Whitening your teenager’s teeth with help from a dentist is the best option so the dentist can oversee the process. Your child’s dentist can also examine their mouth for possible problems, such as enamel loss, inflammation of the gums, or damage to the soft tissue or nerves.

Although seeking professional teeth whitening is an excellent choice to avoid the pitfalls and errors of using over-the-counter and at-home options, it’s also the most expensive method.

Many dental insurance plans don’t cover teeth whitening treatments because they are considered cosmetic procedures. That means you could end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket to whiten your teen’s teeth.

Contact Babylon Dental Care

If you’re considering your teenager’s options for whitening their teeth, you should contact Babylon Dental Care immediately. We can meet with you and your child during an initial consultation to discuss their needs and the procedures we provide.

Since 1983, our dental professionals have provided patients with the services they need for better oral health and a beautiful smile. You can depend on our team to advise you about the teeth whitening method we believe is best for your teen to get the results they want while protecting them from adverse effects.

Call Babylon Dental Care at (631) 983-6665 today for an appointment.

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