Is Teeth Whitening a Viable and Safe Option for Seniors?

23 April 2020
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Over time, teeth change colour. This natural result of ageing occurs in both humans and animals. For senior adults who still have all or at least most of their natural teeth, this yellowing of the teeth with age can have a negative impact on their appearance. But is twhitening safe for seniors?

You Can Whiten Your Teeth at Any Age

As long as your oral health is in good shape, aside from staining that is, you can whiten your teeth at any age. The hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent has the same effect, no matter how old you are. Moreover, this bleaching agent won't have any negative side effects due to your age. As long as your teeth and gums are in good condition, you can whiten your teeth with in-office or tray whitening.

But with age, certain things happen that might interfere with the whitening process. It helps to be aware of these things.

Your Enamel Thins as You Age

One aspect of ageing that will affect the overall shade of your teeth is the natural thinning of your enamel. This is something that is almost unavoidable. Over time, due to exposure to acids and to wear and tear, the enamel layer on your teeth, which is already thin to begin with, loses its thickness.

Because of this thinning of the enamel, the second layer of your teeth, which dentists refer to as dentin, is more visible. And because dentin is naturally yellow in colour, your teeth will appear to be more yellow as a result. The longer the thinning occurs, the more yellow your teeth will appear.

As such, whitening might not be as effective as it would if your enamel layer was thicker.

Your Teeth Might Hurt When Exposed to Whitening

Another issue with thin enamel ad whitening is sensitivity. The thinner your enamel is, the more sensitive your teeth will be. This is because hot and cold liquids, and acidic compounds, such as hydrogen peroxide, can more easily penetrate a tooth when its enamel layer is thin.

As you whiten your teeth then, the hydrogen peroxide could send pain signals through to the nerves in your teeth, leaving you in considerable discomfort. This is especially true if the enamel is thin on many of your teeth.

Although teeth whitening is safe for seniors, keep the above issues in mind when deciding whether to whiten your teeth or not. If thin enamel is an issue, you could go for porcelain veneers instead. Or, if veneers are out of your price range, composite veneers are a cheaper option, though they don't last as long.