Should I let my high-schooler get tooth whitening done?

Being a teenager has its hurdles—socially, emotionally and physically. There’s strong social pressure to appear perfect, and so often this is manifested in high anxieties around how kids look. As teenagers’ bodies rapidly change, they often try to manipulate these changes into something perceived as beneficial. It’s not unheard of for a teenager to even think about teeth whitening, even though as adults we associate it with aging teeth, coffee and smoke stains.  


Teenagers often find themselves desperate to feel better about their appearances, and with an increasing focus on straight, white and brilliantly shiny teeth, tooth whitening has become a question of parenting and dental interest. 


While teeth bleaching is more popular than ever before among teenagers, it’s natural for parents to feel concerned about the safety of these products and treatments. No matter how much your high-schooler might be convinced that it’s harmless, or within their right to make the decision, or something that positively “everyone else is doing,” we have a few tidbits you can reflect on before giving your teenager full support. 

 Teenagers and teeth whitening

Potential side effects of whitening treatments 
It is not recommended to let children bleach their teeth, particularly before the age of 16. Tooth bleaching gels used during the whitening procedure may damage the not yet fully-developed nerves of teeth roots, causing lasting hypersensitivity of teeth and slow-to-heal pain in the mouth. 
If you’re dealing with stubborn high-schooler who is determined to make their smile as white as can be, discuss options with your dentist to avoid bleaching agents that have high concentrations of carbamide peroxide. The higher the concentration of this bleaching element, the higher the risk of nerve shrinking.  
Home tooth whitening versus professional treatments 
Educate your high-schooler about risks to over-the-counter tooth whitening products, particularly the ones that are uncertified. The availability of products with adverse side effects is the biggest threat to your teenager’s oral health. Most of the whitening products that your teenager can easily find online will not compare to the professional teeth bleaching treatments available through your dentist. Your teenager should know that ordering teeth whitening products over the internet does not guarantee the desired result, and can lead to side-effects. In extreme cases, your high-schooler even risks swallowing bleaching agents that can severely irritate the throat.  


How often should your kid bleach his or her teeth? 


No matter the type of teeth bleaching method you give your teenager the green light on, be sure that they don’t overdo it. A helpful reminder is that, within time, your teenagers will be of age to make the decision for themselves. 

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