Everyone loves to see healthy, white teeth. That’s why some parents might get very concerned when their child’s teeth begin to turn yellow. There are many reasons why this can happen, and it’s actually pretty common. This discoloration is either internal or external, and there are many treatments available for each situation.

It is important to remember that a child’s teeth can become stained just as easily as an adult’s can. Some of the most common reasons for external discoloration include something your child has eaten or drunk. Internal causes of discoloration might be trauma, fluorosis, or dentin defects. In most cases, treatment for either internal or external causes can be handled at the dentist’s office or at home.

What Causes My Child’s Yellow Teeth?

It can be rather distressing to look at your child one day and realize, “My child’s teeth are yellow!” Here are some of the most common reasons for your child's yellow teeth.

FluorosisIf a child ingests too much fluoride during the growing years, this irreversible condition can develop. The fluoride damages the cells that form enamel, and eventually, the teeth turn a dingy yellow.
TetracyclineThis antibiotic can make patches, ribbons or streaks of yellow on the teeth, thanks to destroying certain cells when a child takes it. However, most doctors try not to prescribe this antibiotic to young children.
Tooth traumaWhen only one tooth turns yellow or brown, it usually means that it has been damaged by some sort of trauma. The damage might be to the tooth itself, or to the nerve inside. This needs immediate attention from a dentist.
Food and drinkCertain foods have staining properties, and a young child’s teeth are especially susceptible to this. Things like soda, soy sauce, and fruit drinks can cause the discoloration. The more a child eats or drinks things like this, the worse the discoloration can be. You can make it less noticeable by asking your child to rinse their mouth with water after they have something that might stain their teeth.
Poor dental hygieneA child must brush and floss twice a day to cut down on the chances of yellow teeth. Letting plaque build up on teeth can lead to the yellow tinge.

How Can I Get My Child’s Teeth White?

1. See a Dentist First

Want to get your child’s teeth white? Start by going to the dentist. All children should see a dentist by the age of one. If you have serious concerns, start by telling the dentist the problem: “My child’s teeth are yellow”. The dentist will definitely have some solutions in mind.

2. Focus on Home Care

Home care is also very important. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride. You should also teach your child how to floss properly. They don’t need to have a full mouth of teeth to learn this! As soon as they have two teeth that can touch, it’s time to teach them how to use floss.

3. Have a Professional Cleaning

But keep in mind that no matter how much your child brushes, they still need to have a professional cleaning to remove tartar and plaque buildup. These buildups can lead to yellow teeth no matter how good your child’s oral hygiene is.

4. Use Whitening Strips

Look into whitening strips for your child’s teeth, or discuss having the procedure done at the dentist’s office. This is usually harmless, but you will want to check with your dentist to be sure before you buy something that is too harsh for your child to use. Sometimes treatment will be covered by your dental insurance.

Teeth Whitening and Bleaching Products—Are They Safe for Children?

If your child still has baby teeth, there is really no point in bleaching them, as they will soon fall out anyway. But if your child already has permanent teeth, are whitening and bleaching agents safe for use? In most cases, young children should not use over-the-counter whitening products, as the amount of peroxide in them could do more harm than good. Once the enamel is damaged, that means yellow teeth forever, because the enamel will not grow back! To be absolutely sure of your whitening agents, talk to your dentist.

Dental Care for Children

1. Keep Good Oral Hygiene

The best way to avoid any problems with yellow teeth is prevention. Good oral hygiene is absolutely essential to avoid the yellow staining of your child’s teeth. Make sure your child brushes and flosses twice a day, and rinses their mouth out with water after they have sugary or strongly colored foods, such as soy sauce or tea. When your child brushes, remember to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and don’t forget to brush the gums and tongue, too.

2. Children Sleeping Without a Bottle

If your child is still using a bottle, don’t let them fall asleep with it, and don’t let them use the bottle after they have been weaned to a cup.

3. No Smoking Around

Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby, as this can contribute to the problem.

4. Put Sugar Away

Don’t put anything sugary on a baby’s pacifier.

5. Be Careful with Fluoride

Make sure that your child gets enough fluoride, but not too much! In many places, fluoride is added to the drinking water, and you can get plenty of it through the toothpaste, too–that’s really all your child needs. Some experts recommend using a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste and not rinsing it out after your child has brushed. The fluoride can continue to work. However, if your child doesn’t like this, you can buy an over-the-counter fluoride rinse that gives the same advantages.

discolored teeth

What Is It?

Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or by changes in the tooth material. Dentists divide discoloration into three main categories:

  • Extrinsic discoloration — This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained by coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.
  • Intrinsic discoloration — This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. Causes include excessive exposure to fluoride during early childhood, the maternal use of tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy and the use of tetracycline antibiotics in children 8 years old or younger.
  • Age-related discoloration — This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. In addition to stains caused by foods or smoking, the dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Chips or other injuries to a tooth can also cause discoloration, especially when the pulp has been damaged.

In rare cases, children with a condition called dentinogenesis imperfect are born with gray, amber or purple discolorations.

sensitive teeth

If you pass on hot or cold drinks because you know they’ll make your teeth hurt, it may be time to talk to your dentist about the possibility that you have sensitive teeth.

Sometimes other things can aggravate them, too, like sweet and sour foods or even cold air.

To be able to treat these tooth twinges, it helps to know what might be behind them. Once you’ve nailed down the cause, you can find a solution.

Take Care of Your Tooth Enamel

That’s a hard, protective layer that helps your teeth deal with everything you put them through. When it’s gone, nerve endings that cause pain are exposed.

If you have sensitive teeth, it’s possible some of your enamel has worn away.

To prevent or put the brakes on that damage:

Don’t brush too hard. Do you clean your teeth with a heavy hand? You might be taking off more than just plaque. Side-to-side brushing right at the gum line can make your enamel go away faster. You should use a soft-bristled brush and work at a 45-degree angle to your gum to keep enamel clean and strong.

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.