White Strips For Teeth: Safe For Kids And Teens?

Mom and daughter talking about white strips

If your child's teeth are looking less than pearly white, it might be tempting to whiten them in the same way you do yours: with whitening strips. But before you apply those strips to your child's teeth, you should learn a little more about how they work and the possible side effects of applying them on kids. You might use these strips perfectly, but a child may not be able to. Understanding the risks and what the experts say might encourage you to think twice about letting your child use white strips for teeth-bleaching purposes.

Hydrogen Peroxide

White strips work by coating the teeth in a hydrogen peroxide solution for anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on package's directions. It's no big deal, right? For kids, the answer may not be so simple. Hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations is typically safe in adult products. In Singapore, tooth whitening products that contain concentrations of up to 6% hydrogen peroxide are not for direct sale to the general public, although they can be prescribed by a registered dental practitioner for home use by the patient. The higher the concentration, the greater the chance that these bleaching products can have an adverse effect on your child.

Lack of Clear Data

White strips for teeth are discouraged for kids and teens for a few reasons. A lack of studies is one major concern: there's simply not enough material to support that strips are safe on young teeth. Without that concrete evidence, authorities and regulatory bodies cannot make a satisfactory ruling that they are indeed safe for little mouths.

User Error

Adults can be trusted to read instructions, understand risk and use white strips for teeth carefully and properly. Unfortunately, there is a high rate of user error when kids used white strips themselves. This includes leaving the strips on for much longer than instructed. Add that to the risk of swallowing the product, and bleaching your child's teeth at home could be hazardous.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is another risk. Even adults know that a high concentration of bleaching agents, when left on the teeth for a long period of time, can lead to significant tooth sensitivity. Although studies aren't clear on whether child sensitivity is more or less severe, it's a side effect to consider for baby teeth.

Alternatives

Just because there is no data supporting the use of whitening strips, doesn't mean your child has to live with dull-coloured teeth. Instead, good hygiene and the right products can help polish those teeth until they gleam – no bleach necessary. Avoiding foods and drinks that can stain teeth, such as carbonated soft drinks, can help them retain a whiter smile; and don't forget to brush twice daily too.

 

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips to Prevent Tooth Discolouration After TEETH WHITENING

Once you’ve completed a whitening treatment, there are a few steps you can take to maintain your whiter smile.

  • Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages – coffee, tea, wine, sports drinks, hard candy, berries and tomato sauce are all foods that can cause tooth discolouration.
  • Use a straw – when drinking beverages, use a straw to keep stain-causing dyes away from your teeth.
  • Quit smoking – smoking tobacco can cause teeth to become discoloured. Eliminating tobacco can help keep your teeth bright.

Stains, stains go away!

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