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Is Teeth Whitening Really Safe to Use for Teenagers?

According to the American Academy of General Dentistry, it is recommended that parents should be aware about the certain risks associated with teeth whitening for teenagers under 18 years old and that they know the best options for them.

Unfortunately, many parents and teenagers still don’t know all the details regarding teeth whitening. Because of this, they may be using the product at a much younger age than recommended. This leads to potential problems down the road. If you’d like to know more, then read on to discover the important details. 

What Are the Risks Involved When Teenagers Use Teeth Whitening

Even though teeth whitening does have amazing results for adult teeth, it may not be for everyone, especially for teens, and there are some risks involved.

Teeth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens the stains on the teeth, giving a brighter and whiter appearance. Teeth whitening may be performed at home or in a dentist’s office.

During the whitening, the enamel surrounding the teeth will be softened by the whitening gels and light. The enamel is the white protective covering that surrounds each tooth.

While teeth whitening for adults and teens will not reverse natural tooth decay, it can help with the discoloration of teeth that can be caused by sugary foods and drinks.

However, teeth whitening isn’t safe for all teens to use.

For teenagers, teeth whitening can cause shrinkage of the nerve root endings as their teeth are developing into permanent teeth. When they apply a teeth whitening agent before the permanent tooth emerges, they are putting their nerves at risk of becoming damaged, leading to an increase of tooth sensitivity. As a result, their teeth will become more sensitive to heat and cold.

Along with nerve damage, a teenager’s teeth may become brittle because of the presence of the whitening agent. Aside from this, teeth whitening products tend to be stronger than what is used as an adult.

What Are the Best Options of Teeth Whitening for Teenagers

The best options for teens that want to brighten their smile is to schedule an appointment at a dentist office to have professional teeth whitening (bleaching gels) done and using over-the-counter DIY teeth whitening kits. This is because both options have peroxide-based ingredients in the form of bleaching gels.

Teeth whitening kits that can be purchased at the drugstore contain a strong hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching agent, which is also known as carbamide peroxide. When using this over-the-counter teeth whitening kit, you should avoid getting the bleaching agent on your gums or lips as it can cause tissue damage.

Professional-grade bleaching gels contain 15 to 43 percent hydrogen peroxide while at home trays or DIY kits have three to 20 percent carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

Some of the over-the-counter teeth whitening bleaches include whitening toothpaste, whitening gels and strips, and whitening pens.

Here are some other tips that your teenager can follow to avoid discoloration of their teeth and get whiter teeth for a long period of time.

  • Brush and floss teeth daily.
  • Avoid drinking coffee, tea, or soda.
  • Use a straw when drinking coffee or tea.
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products.


Despite most teens wanting to have a whiter smile, the risk that’s involved when using teeth whitening before the permanent teeth erupt is not worth it. So the best choice for teens is to have a custom professional teeth whitening done at a dentist office and using the over-the-counter teeth whitening kits to remove surface discoloration and stains. As a parent, you can help by discussing the risks of teeth whitening with your teenager and help them to be aware of some of the best options that they can use to achieve a brighter smile.

Weston Dental Specialists Group has the best dentists in Weston, MA that can help you achieve the brightest and whitest smiles without compromising the potential risks involved. We pride ourselves in providing the best dental experience for each and every patient. Let us help your teens achieve the smile they have always wanted. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Posted in Oral Health

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