Safety and your child’s secret wishes for perfect white teeth are the topics of this week’s blog. We want you to be prepared for dental safety when your child asks about whitening his or her teeth. We seldom find a child with any concern for safety in whitening.
But they all have secret wishes for the whitest, brightest most magical teeth in their smiles.
The Recipe for Wishes of Whitening
one part mass-media,
one part self-confidence,
and one part peer-pressure.
You can bet that the Back-To-School season has intensified your child’s understanding of fashion sense and acceptable styles within their social circle.
For the sake of your child’s safety, don’t allow him or her to sneak home with a Big Box Whitening Kit, unsupervised. He or she could misuse it. And in extreme cases, damage the enamel on their teeth.
Safety Tips: Parent’s Fashion Education
- Did you know that most teeth in magazines, television, and the movies are not natural? Natural colors for teeth might vary from off-white, grayish toned or yellow-toned.
- If celebrities’ teeth are not capped or covered with veneers, then they are surely whitened. Likewise, did you know that artists in both Photoshop and Videoshop whiten teeth?
Whitening the teeth is an initial step in the retouch process, even in very natural-looking shots. Yes, the portrait artist, movie editor or cinematographic artist can very subtly whiten eyes and teeth. But that is not reality; it’s fantasy.
- Pass On the Safety Lesson Early
Pass this knowledge of what is fake and what is real, onto your child. Warn them about it, especially if you think he or she is too young for the whitening treatment.
And here is a secret: No one’s permanent teeth are ever as bright white as his or her baby teeth.
(Maybe that is why some people call them “milk ” teeth.)
Safety and a Whitening Conversation
For many parents, it’s not a question of if their children will want teeth whitening, but when they will start asking for it.
You need to prepare for the question, “Mommy, when can I get my teeth whitened? And perhaps, “Daddy says it okay if you say it’s okay.” And your arsenal of answers needs to include cautions for tooth-whitening safety.
Safety Oddly enough one of our cautions is as psychological as well as physical. We want you to make you aware that teeth whitening can ignite obsessive behavior.
“Bleachorexia, addiction to tooth bleaching, is a behavioral disorder similar to anorexia. The patient feels that their teeth are always not white enough and continues to use whiteners to obtain a “perfect” smile. Such behavior falls under the category of a body dysmorphic disorder and may need medical counseling.”
“When can I get my teeth whitened?” asked a daughter. Dr. James Nickman, of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, answers the question. “It is a fairly common question usually starting in the middle-school years and is likely driven by the interest in aesthetics.” And it is not only the children who want it. Parents also are sometimes concerned about the color of their child’s teeth.
You will notice something special about a nice, big new permanent tooth. It’s far from the clean white of the baby tooth next to it. We would be remiss if we did not include a few more words from concern Dr. James Nickman. “The main concern from parents is the appearance of the new permanent teeth compared to the baby teeth. The new permanent teeth usually are more yellow in appearance, which is completely normal.”
Safety Questions about Whitening Products
As we have previously blogged, “In the twenty-first century, buying whitening products for teeth seems as natural as buying hair conditioner or that ointment for adolescent acne.” And it’s very easy to toss the whitening products in the grocery cart at the local Big Box store.” The average price is $19.99-$33.99 per box.
But wait—just how safe is that over-the-counter teeth bleaching agent?
We posed this question over a year ago. But, as you will see below, perhaps there still is no cut and dried, black and white answer to this question—not then and not now. But let’s allow a little new research to shine.
Dental Safety Factor 1.
First, let us check the AAPD (America Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) policy and guideline manual on this subject in regards to children.
As concerned parents, the first safety factor we might note would be a lack of testing and research. By the way, the government considers over-the-counter teeth whitening products as cosmetics, not drugs. So, the FDA does not test and regulate them.
The AAPD guideline states, “It should be noted that most of the research on bleaching has been performed on adult patients, with only a small amount of published bleaching research using child or adolescent patients.”
As we have said before, at Dentistry for Children, we highly anticipate more whitening studies on this issue in the coming years.
What Side-Effects Occur With Whitening?
The APDD Policy and Guidelines Manual lists two modestly alarming, although temporary, side effects: Tooth sensitivity–66% of users report this side effect.
Dental Safety Point 2:
- Tissue irritation: Research has revealed that badly fitting mouth trays cause irritated gums, not the hydrogen peroxide in such trays.
- While manufacturers might list a 3.5 – 10 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide, independent testing has shown the solutions are sometimes up to 15.00 percent. Again, these over-the-counter products are only controlled as cosmetics.
Dental Safety Point 3: The ADA stated that these side effects are usually moderate and temporary.
Wishes, Beauty, and Confidence Can Co-exist with Beauty
At Dentistry for Children, for those of us who are parents, the safety points add up to a simple question: Do we really want to put an irritating product into the hands of an unsupervised child?
We advocate for the professional chairside whitening procedure, done in your pediatric dentist’s office.
Dental Safety Point 4: Safe Use of Whitening Products
So we have a question of compliance. Clearly, a well-meaning, unsupervised child could abuse or misuse a tooth whitening product. However, there is a safe way to make whitening wishes come true: Chairside Whitening by a Dentist.
And the outcome is more than just white teeth. Of Course, professional dental whitening can make an immediate difference in your child’s appearance. They love their whitened smile. Therefore, they gain more self- confidence.
So, the final recommendation of the AAPD is two-fold, but they both involve at least an initial trip to your dentist.
- On the one hand--You can allow your child to do his or her own dental whitening at home. However, you should see a dentist first. The dentist can examine the health of the child’s teeth. He will make sure there are no medical reasons around the discoloration of his or her teeth. After a thorough examination and cleaning, Dr. Troy King at Dentistry for children will educate you and your child on the cautious use of the proper whitening products for his or her teeth.
- On the other hand--You can invest in whitening those smiles with professional whitening by your dentist. This procedure is called chairside whitening. At Dentistry for children, Dr. Troy King will do the initial treatment, delicately and beautifully.
Then, he will educate your child for better compliance. He will send him or her home with plenty of instructions and a shiny new safe whitening device.
You see, at Dentistry for Children, we do not consider whitening to be a cosmetic. We consider it a medical procedure.
And we believe Chairs-side Whitening is a much better way to make whitening wishes come true than that quickie fix in the cosmetics department of the Big Box Store.
Thank you for reading our blog and three cheers for safety with brighter and whiter teeth.