Teeth Whitening for Teens: When Is it Healthy?

By: Amy Nutt...

Teeth whitening products are everywhere and teens are feeling the pressure to have pearly whites that practically glow in the dark. But how long should a teen wait before attempting a tooth whitening experience?
When Teens Need Whitening Treatments
Most teens don`t actually need to whiten their teeth. However, for those who do smoke or drink coffee or colas, their teeth may become prematurely discolored and turn yellow. This is something that is normally associated with older people but if a teen is having this type of problem, it might be time to look into something a bit more extreme like teeth whitening.
The enamel on the teeth protects them and it can be damaged by heavy duty whitening procedures. While most over the counter treatments aren`t dangerous, it`s a good idea to speak with your dentist before attempting to bleach your own teeth. Dentists have charts to help compare the colors of teeth, but you can do a simple comparasion at home. Look the mirror, bare your teeth and open your eyes wide. The basic rule of thumb is that the teeth should be about the same shade of white as the whites of the eye.
There isn`t a specific age when teens should or shouldn`t whiten their teeth, but since repeated bleaching, particularly when done by someone who isn`t experienced, can cause problems in the long run, it`s best to hold off if it really isn`t needed.
Reasons to Whiten
Teens are at a sensitive stage of life. They are trying to adjust to being almost an adult, making their own decisions and trying to figure out just where they fit in. Anything that sets them apart from the masses can be very embarrassing and even traumatic. That`s why many parents decide to allow their teen to do a teeth whitening procedure.
Having yellow teeth can be a depressing state of affairs if you are in high school. For many teens who suffer from this problem, teeth whitening treatments is a way to boost their self esteem. It can really help turn those teen years around. Smiles can be freely given and it`s not surprising that more teens who are happy with their teeth smile more often and therefore appear more approachable and tend to have more friends.
Healthy Teeth Whitening
While a dentist can really give you the best whitening treatment, many teens try over the counter items instead, thanks to not enjoying visits to the dentist. There are plenty of different types of tooth whitening products available, some are better than others.
Whitening strips are quite effective, but they also tend to be fairly gentle on your teeth. Since teens still have a lot of life to live, taking good care of the teeth is vital. There are also toothpastes and mouthwashes that suggest they can help turn your yellowed teeth into pearly whites once again. These are usually not in contact with your mouth long enough to actually do much good, but they also won`t ruin the enamel on your teeth.
There are, however, some far stronger options on the market. You may or may not be able to get these online. They consist of applying gel to the teeth and often a protective mouthguard as well, to keep the bleaching gel against the teeth. These can be very harsh and teens should check with a cosmetic dentist before using this type of whitener.
Most teens don`t need to whiten those teeth, but for some, it will restore their self esteem and make them feel better about themselves. There seems to be no damage done when teens bleach occasionally, using the appropriate products, so there shouldn't be any risk involved. When in doubt, go see your dentist.

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