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Teens And Teeth Whitening: What You Should Know


Teenagers deal with all sorts of pressures and self esteems issues, and their appearance are high on that list; so, what do you do when they say their smile isn’t as bright and white as they want it to be? As parents, we strive to help our kids feel better about themselves; but before you buy those whitening strips or make that teeth whitening appointment, you should sink your teeth into the facts, first.

Overview: There are plenty of options available to help whiten that smile for you. From toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening strips/pens, to trays — the possibilities are endless. But is it the right fit for your teen?

White strips work by coating the teeth in a hydrogen peroxide solution for anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on package’s directions or dental procedure.

For adults, it doesn’t seem like anything to worry about, but for Teens, it’s a different story. Hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations is typically safe in adult products, but these at-home bleaching products have up to a 13-percent hydrogen peroxide concentration, and that can carry a greater chance of having an adverse effect on your child’s teeth.

More so, whitening products are meant for natural tooth enamels — not fillings, crowns or veneers. Most teens are also dealing with a lot of orthodontic work and wisdom teeth extractions which cause extreme tooth sensitivity — something that could be made worse with teeth whitening.

A dental professional can also help diagnose the reason your teens teeth are not their whitest. It could be due to injury, past dental treatment(s), iron supplements, tooth decay or natural discoloration.

Types of teeth whitening include:

In-office whitening procedure: consisting of a high percentage of hydrogen peroxide that works in a short period of time and it is done only once a year. The gums are covered with a barrier while the solution is put on the teeth for 20 min (repeated twice).

Take home whitening procedure: trays are handled and created at your dental office after having taken an impression of both the upper and lower teeth. You are then given the solution, with the trays, to take home and use at night before going to sleep. This procedure consists of a lower concentration because it is done over the course of 7-10 days.

Whitening strips (over the counter): The most popular method of teeth whitening and also the most cost-effective, you can begin to see results in about 7 days. Although the hydrogen peroxide concentration is not as high as an in-office treatment, but with prolonged usage, teeth can become more sensitive. The effects of using whitening strips are also temporary. After complete treatment, you can expect the results to last six to 12 months.

Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash: Despite the marketing and advertising behind it, whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are the least effective, unless used with one of the above procedures. Ultimately, you will be to see a slight improvement to surface stains–caused by coffee or smoking, however they cannot improve stains embedded in the tooth enamel.

They are fairly harmless, but can cause some sensitivity with prolonged use.

For a natural method of attaining whiter teeth: mix several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice (or water) to make a paste. Wipe your teeth and any extra saliva off of them with a paper towel. Put a good amount of paste onto your toothbrush and apply. Leave the paste on for 1 minute, then rinse, so as to avoid the acid affecting enamel.

Before, deciding on any teeth whitening procedure, please check with your dental professional.

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