We all want white teeth, and that includes children. However, the oral health issues and habits that cause your child’s teeth to appear yellow may be different than what causes tooth discoloration in adults. Read on in this blog from Restore Health Dentistry to learn more about the common causes of yellow teeth in children and what you can do about it.
If your child does not practice good oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing, and attending regular dental cleanings, they are primed for plaque buildup as a result of the bacteria in your mouth mixing with left-behind sugars.
Plaque is a yellow sticky bacterial substance that can cause a yellow film to form over your child’s teeth. When plaque hardens, which only takes 72 hours, it turns into tartar, which cannot be removed at home.
You should monitor your child to ensure they’re regularly brushing and flossing. Take them to regular checkups and dental cleanings every 6 months.
While the outer layer of our teeth known as enamel is white, the underlying layer of dentin is actually yellow.
If your child has thin enamel or their teeth have begun to erode because of excessive consumption of acids and sugar, then this underlying yellow layer of the tooth may be showing through.
Baby teeth are naturally thinner than adult teeth, but some children have thinner enamel than others due to their genetics or certain medical conditions. Besides appearing more yellow, thinner enamel places your child at greater risk for cavities.
If your child eats a lot of highly pigmented foods containing chromogens and tannins, this will discolor their teeth over time.
While your child’s teeth may appear discolored temporarily if they just ate a dark-colored sauce, constant exposure to staining foods and drinks will cause permanent staining.
If your child also eats an acidic diet, this will cause enamel erosion, which makes your teeth more likely to stain. Limit your child’s exposure to staining foods like soda, juice, tea, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, berries, and candy.
When your child does consume them, encourage them to rinse their mouth out afterward so these stains don’t linger on the teeth. Other sources of tooth stains include excessive fluoride which can cause fluorosis and certain antibiotics such as tetracycline which causes discoloration in children under 12 years old.
When your child is around 6 years old, they will start to lose their baby teeth and their permanent teeth will start to erupt. You may notice that as their permanent teeth are coming in, they appear more yellow than their baby teeth.
Permanent teeth are much thicker in structure because they contain more dentin (the underlying yellow layer of the tooth). Your child’s enamel will also be more transparent during eruption because of the larger nerve canals.
Transparent enamel can cause the yellow dentin to peek through. These teeth also may look more yellow in comparison to the whiter baby teeth surrounding them. However, over time things will return to normal as the permanent tooth calcifies and the other baby teeth become replaced with permanent teeth for a uniform shade.
If you notice that your child has discolored or yellow teeth, contact us at Restore Health Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nancy William. They could need a simple dental cleaning or they may have thin enamel, and intrinsic stains from certain products, or the tooth may be injured and require restorative treatment.
We will be able to examine and assess your child’s tooth discoloration and formulate a treatment plan that will improve the appearance of their teeth. Depending on the age of your child, they may be eligible for teeth whitening.