Teeth Whitening For Children: At What Age Can They Whiten Yellow Teeth?

teeth whitening for children

Ever wonder about teeth whitening for children and when they will be old enough?

Read our helpful guide about teeth whitening for children. In our article we’ll discuss:

1. What is the minimum age for teeth whitening?

2. Are teeth whitening products safe for children?

3. What is the safest way to whiten teeth on children?

According to the Dental Health Society, many people, roughly 96%, believe that a beautiful smile makes a person more attractive.  But, is teeth whitening for children a good idea?

Many parents want to brighten their child’s smile, but many parents don’t know what age is appropriate to whiten teeth. However, do know that if you consider teeth whitening for children, you should have some concerns and take extra care not to interfere with their dental health.

happy kids together

Making Your Child’s Smile Brighter:
What is the minimum age for whitening? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Many people seem indecisive when deciding what age is safe to expose their kids to teeth whitening products. The fact is that there is no hard-fast rule or age specification for teeth whitening. In the end, it all depends upon the condition of your child’s teeth.

When it comes to whitening, baby teeth tend to be on the sensitive side. Permanent teeth, however, respond well to many whitening products such as a gel.

It is always a good idea to start whitening after all baby teeth must have fallen out, and adult teeth are present. After 13 years of age, a child will have mostly permanent teeth. The consensus is that many dentists consider the age of 14 the most appropriate age to begin the whitening process.

dr. brad with child patient

Teeth Whitening Products:
Are they safe for use on children? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Some parents are concerned that their kid’s teeth look yellow. Parents want to know the safest whitening products and the best products for teeth whitening in children. 

Is it okay to use teeth whitening products on children? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Pediatric dentists will also reinforce the recommendation of not using bleaching products until all baby teeth have fallen out.

When kids turn 13 years of age, the best product to whiten yellow teeth in kids are products containing hydrogen peroxide or carbide peroxide. Coating your child’s teeth for approximately 30 minutes with a hydrogen peroxide or carbide peroxide solution will make their teeth appear whiter than before. However, any hydrogen peroxide product used should have a low concentration for your child’s health and safety. If a product is highly concentrated, it can have adverse effects on your child’s teeth and create extreme sensitivity.

Some of the complications with teeth whitening and using a strong solution of hydrogen peroxide can be:

1. Gingival Irritation After the Bleaching Process

Any type of gingival irritation can be traumatic for kids. Approximately one out of every two children encounters irritation after bleaching. Why? Because over the counter bleaching systems have hydrogen peroxide and a one size fits all whitening tray. Unfortunately,  because the whitening trays are made to fit everyone, the whitening gel spills out onto the gums, which leads to gingival irritation.

2. Bleached Gums

If teeth whitening is not done correctly, it can even lead to bleached gums, and some bleaching chemicals are not suitable for use by children. Some bleaching agents can do more harm than good.

Dentists recommend the use of bleaching products that contain no more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. A whitening product that is highly concentrated could prove disastrous. Under severe circumstances, the use of hydrogen peroxide chemicals can cause damage, such as permanent bleaching.

Below is a picture of chemical burn on gums after using a one size fits all whitening tray.

chemical burn on gums from Teeth whitening for children

3. Teeth/Tooth Sensitivity

Any teeth whitening procedure can cause teeth sensitivity in children. Because kids have underdeveloped teeth, bleaching chemicals can penetrate under the tooth and reach the nerves. In the end, children will experience some discomfort when eating or drinking.

Generally, the sensitivity is temporary, but it can last for a few days or even a few weeks. 

happy little girl looking up

Ultimately, it is best to choose professional teeth whitening products that have two superior features in comparison to store-bought whitening systems. Those two features are:

#1. Professional products for teeth whitening in children have a higher concentration of whitening agent mixed with a solution that has added ingredients to help prevent sensitivity.

#2. Professional whitening trays used for teeth whitening in children are custom made and prevent the spilling of whitening gel, which ultimately prevents sensitivity.

Before and After using a professional whitening system for kids.

teeth whitening before kid patient treatment
teeth whitening after kid patient treatment

So, What is the Safest Way to Brighten Yellow Teeth in Kids? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

The safest at-home teeth whitening procedure for kids is to brush with baking soda. 

Kids build up plaque easier than adults, which makes the teeth appear yellow. Brushing with baking soda can be an easy, at-home solution that is safe for teeth whitening in children.

Are there any home remedies for children to brighten their smile? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Using a small amount of baking soda and brushing your child’s teeth with a children’s toothbrush (because it’s softer) can be highly effective.

If you desire the use of stronger products that contain hydrogen peroxide, you should look for a skilled children’s dentist. This dentist must be licensed and should have a good reputation. You can search Google for the “best dentist near me reviews” or ask others in the community for their recommendations on the “best children’s dentist.”

Besides whitening services, children’s dentists can also offer advice regarding other beneficial procedures for your children, such as gum treatment, cavity protection, etc. After all, you love your kids and looking for a skilled children’s dentists to benefit their overall well-being goes to prove that in addition, a children’s dentist can also ensure that teeth whitening will not negatively impact your child’s teeth or gums.

Before & After picture of whiter teeth in kids after brushing with baking soda.

baking soda whitening before patient treatment
baking soda whitening after patient treatment

Which toothpaste is the best for teeth whitening in children:
How can you whiten children’s yellow teeth with toothpaste? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

An easier way to achieve and maintain teeth whitening in children is to use toothpaste rather than chemical products. It’s also good to introduce good oral hygiene habits like tooth brushing at a young age. A great home care routine can help your child maintain clean, white teeth for a lifetime.

child brushing teeth with family

What about the best whitening toothpaste for kids? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

There are kid-sized toothbrushes that are suitable for children and will make brushing easier for them. When brushing, it is recommended that kids use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and when finished, they should be sure to get rid of any excess toothpaste through spitting in the sink or using a cup with water to rinse. For example, fluoride toothpaste, such as Mystic by Crest®, can also be a huge help in maintaining clean, healthy teeth for children. As for the “best whitening” toothpaste for your child, look for the toothpaste that has some hydrogen peroxide added to it.

does charcoal toothpaste work for whitening teeth for Teeth whitening for children

Does charcoal toothpaste work for whitening teeth in kids? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

There is very little scientific or clinical research to support any claims of charcoal toothpaste safety or efficacy as a whitening agent. Although charcoal tooth products tend to make teeth feel incredibly smooth and clean, there are some disadvantages to using them routinely. Charcoal has more abrasive particles than those generally found in toothpaste. Therefore, repeated use could potentially erode tooth enamel, making teeth more prone to collecting stains. Also, enamel erosion increases sensitivity and, at some point, could contribute to gum tissue recession around the teeth. Gum recession, unfortunately, can make teeth more prone to decay. It is important to remember that any time a highly abrasive substance is applied to the teeth, the enamel is eroded. When enamel is eroded, it exposes the inner layer of dentin beneath the enamel. This creates a more yellow tooth appearance over time due to the thinning of the enamel layer.

Ultimately, the use of charcoal toothpaste in children, just like adults, is not recommended.

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make your decision when deciding on the best whitening for children:

What are some best safe home remedies for teeth whitening in children? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Brushing with baking soda can dramatically help to whiten children’s yellow teeth safely at home.

Who can do teeth whitening for children? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

If you are considering using a strong solution of hydrogen peroxide a children’s dentist is the only person you should consider for whitening your child’s teeth. Professional teeth whitening solutions for kids have powerful whitening agents and custom-made trays to deliver the whitening solution without burning gums. 

What are the best teeth whitening solutions for children? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

The single best teeth whitening solution for children of age (14 or older) is professional, in-office whitening. In-office whitening is done with the help of a skilled dentist.

Are teeth whitening strips safe for kids? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Whitening strips are one size fits all and are not recommended for children. Whitening strips are not considered safe for use on children under the age of 15, according to the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry). Store-purchased trays are not custom made and lead to spillage of whitening solution onto the gums. This spilled solution leads to extreme sensitivity. Professional whitening systems from the dentist offer custom made trays, thus preventing whitening solution from being spilled.

The Bottom Line About Teeth Whitening for Children Explained by our Dentist in Lincoln, NE…

Teeth whitening for children seems to be growing in popularity today. If you are considering this procedure for your child, be sure to do your research first and make sure you enlist a qualified dental professional.

While there remains skepticism about teeth whitening for children, it isn’t entirely off the table. The biggest thing to remember is that your child’s teeth are still sensitive, and you must be careful. A surefire way to create a beautiful smile is to instill healthy brushing habits at home at an early age, but if you are thinking about teeth whitening for children, seek the opinion of a trusted dental professional or your children’s dentist in Lincoln, NE. They’ll have excellent ideas and likely other options for you to try as they too know that there is nothing better than a happy, healthy, confident smile!

For more information on teeth whitening from our other partnered locations:

dr. benjamin joekel

The information on this page was written by Dr. Ben Joekel.

This gentle Lincoln, NE children’s dentists says: “My goal as your dentist is to listen to your concerns and address your needs when it comes to your dental health. Once your concerns are addressed, our goal as a dental team is to provide you with exceptional care that makes you feel comfortable..”

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or his partners, online 24/7 at a Coddington Dental Location near you. This “Lincoln, NE dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Roca, Bennet, Firth, Crete, and Malcolm!