Yellow Teeth in Children
If you’ve noticed that your children’s teeth are starting to look yellow and discoloured, you’re not alone. In 2018, tooth decay was one of the most common chronic diseases found in Australian children. This statistic is alarming, as poor oral health in childhood creates a higher risk of developing dental diseases later in life.
At Putney Dental, we understand that all parents love their children’s smiles and want to maintain their quality for years to come. So, here’s a guide on yellow teeth in children and how to avoid them.
Children and Tooth Discolouration
Tooth discolouration can either be internal or external. External discolouration is often a temporary condition that causes the teeth to turn yellow for various reasons. In most cases, external discolouration can be easily fixed by improving your child’s oral hygiene habits. Meanwhile, internal discolouration occurs within the tooth’s enamel layer and is often caused by medical conditions or medications.
Yellow teeth in children are quite easy to spot due to the apparent discolouration on the tooth. However, tooth discolouration can come in a range of colours. Usually, the colour is a sound indicator for the particular cause of tooth discolouration.
Other colours include:
- Black: occurs from trauma
- Brown: occurs from injury or consuming dark beverages
- Orange: occurs from bacteria building up
- White: occurs from tooth decay
- Blue, Red or Purple: occurs from trauma or consuming dark foods
What are the Causes of Yellow Teeth in Children?
Yellow teeth in children can occur for a range of reasons. It’s essential to look after your kid’s dental health to ensure that their adult teeth are healthy to avoid diseases such as tooth decay.
Here are some potential causes for why your child has yellow teeth.
Permanent Teeth Coming In
When new adult teeth come in for children, they tend to be hollow, less dense and hold more nerves. Furthermore, new permanent teeth contain more dentin which is located under the outer enamel layer of the tooth. As a result, this culmination of factors creates a yellowish hue to the new permanent tooth and can appear even more yellow when they come in next to the whiter baby teeth.
Fluorosis is a common condition that causes yellow teeth in children due to over-consumption of fluoride. Consequently, too much fluoride can cause brown or white spots to appear on the teeth, making the surrounding enamel layer appear yellow.
Furthermore, an unhealthy intake of iron supplements can cause dark stains on your child’s tooth. Chemicals like chlorhexidine (a common ingredient that is used to remove plaque) can also cause a temporary yellowish hue on your kid’s teeth.
The food and drink that your child consumes can also cause a yellow stain on their teeth. Your child’s tooth discolouration could be linked to their diet, especially if they drink dark liquids like cranberry or grape juice and regularly eat blueberries. The severity of the tooth discolouration depends on the regularity of consumption and the period of time.
Acidic foods, like oranges or tomatoes, can also cause yellowing teeth in children. The best practice to avoid staining on their teeth is to get your child to rinse their mouth with water after eating or drinking.
Plaque build-up is caused by poor dental hygiene habits and can result in a noticeable yellow discolouration. For example, a lack of brushing and flossing can lead to bacteria and plaque build-up, causing tooth discolouration.
We recommend that your child brush their teeth at least two times a day for at least two minutes.
Tetracycline is a type of antibiotic that causes yellow teeth in children. In-utero babies and children under 7 years old who are exposed to the antibiotic can end up with yellow teeth. This is because tetracycline binds to the teeth and causes an oxidisation process that results in yellow discolouration.
Other antibiotics, like penicillin, are also linked to the staining of children’s enamel layer, and teeth appear yellow.
If your child has suffered a facial injury, they may experience tooth trauma. When the tooth undergoes trauma, it causes the capillaries to burst and hemosiderin leaks into the inner dental canals. As a result, this can cause yellow teeth or, in more extreme circumstances, create grey or black discolourations.
Conditions present from birth, like hepatitis or jaundice, can be a reason for your child’s yellow tooth discolouration. Other conditions that can cause tooth discolouration in children include dentin defects, enamel hypoplasia and metabolic disorders.
Genetics are often a strong influence on your child’s general health and well-being, including their teeth. Children can suffer genetic conditions like a thin or weak enamel layer, which is known as ‘Amelogenesis Imperfecta’. The enamel is responsible for the white colour of our teeth, so therefore a weak or thin layer can result in your child’s teeth looking more yellow.
Long-Term Consequences of Children’s Yellow Teeth
The long-term effects of yellow teeth in children depend on the cause and intensity of the discolouration. For example, discolouration that emerges from poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay and weakness, resulting in chipped teeth. Another long-term consequence can be tooth decay, which can occur later in life due to poor oral health.
Social consequences have also been linked to yellow teeth, and your child may experience teasing or bullying if the discolouration is extreme.
How to Treat Yellow Stains in Children’s Teeth
There are various ways to treat your child’s yellow teeth, depending on the initial cause. The two main ways to treat tooth yellow tooth staining include:
- Dental care
- Home Remedies
Dental care may be necessary if your child suffers from tooth stains caused by internal discolouration. This includes instances where a child may have been exposed to tetracycline antibiotics or experienced tooth trauma.
Teeth Whitening for Kids
Teeth whitening involves the professional bleaching of the tooth enamel, resulting in a whiter appearance. The bleaching agent includes sodium hypochlorite and a resin that blocks any future stains within the tooth.
However, we recommend waiting until your child is 16 years old before considering professional whitening services.
Cosmetic Dental Services
These services include using custom-fit porcelain veneers or bonding to cover the tooth. Dental bonding involves a resin that is applied to the surface of the tooth. It then hardens, and a dentist shapes the surface to look like a tooth.
Both veneers and bonding require ongoing maintenance and, therefore, may not be the best choice for your growing child. The best practice is to book an appointment with our Putney children’s dentistry team to discuss the best treatment for your kid.
Home remedies are a practical and cost-effective way of treating your child’s yellow teeth. The following methods are best suited to teeth stained externally, usually caused by plaque, diet or poor oral hygiene.
Improving Oral Hygiene
Your child should be flossing and brushing their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Get your child to brush their teeth within 30 minutes of consuming anything acidic or sugary to ensure tooth enamel protection.
Regular positive hygiene habits will help improve your child’s yellow teeth over time as they age and promote good oral health.
Change in Diet
Moving your child away from food and drink with a high sugar concentration is an effective way to treat their yellow teeth. Food and drink with excessive amounts of sugar can weaken the tooth enamel, causing yellow discolouration. Food and beverages with high sugar content include:
- Sour lollies
- Soft drink
- Citrus and dried fruits
Foods like hard fruits (apples or pears) and vegetables (celery or carrots) help clean the surface of your child’s teeth when chewing. Apples also contain a natural level of malic acid, one of the active ingredients in over-the-counter teeth whitening kits.
Lemon and Baking Soda
Teeth stained from food or drink can be treated with a simple solution of baking soda and lemon juice. You can add a few drops of lemon juice to baking soda and mix it into a paste that can be used when your child is brushing their teeth. To ensure the best results, get your child to leave the paste in their mouth for at least one minute after brushing and before rinsing.
As this method contains citrus, it can cause potential damage to the tooth enamel with overuse. Therefore, you should use this treatment option no more than once a week.
How to Prevent Children’s Tooth Discolouration
Preventative measures are always the best form of treatment when it comes to yellow teeth discolouration. Encouraging good oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing is the first step for prevention. You can achieve this as a parent by modelling good practices yourself, showing your child that you brush and floss at least twice a day. As a parent, you can also reward your child for good oral hygiene. For example, sticker charts are an effective way of motivating your child. Using an egg timer is another good idea for making brushing a fun activity for your child.
When your child is brushing their teeth, make sure that they use low fluoride toothpaste to avoid fluorosis. The ADA recommends that you should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush for the best results in your children’s teeth.
Avoiding foods and drinks with high sugar content is also an effective way to minimise the risk of yellow teeth in your child. In the instances that your child does eat or drink something with a lot of sugar, you should get them to brush their teeth afterwards.
It would be best if you also tried to avoid letting your child sleep with their milk bottle at night. This is because the combination of sugars and milk can cause bacteria growth in your child’s mouth, which can cause yellow teeth.
If you are still worried about teeth discolouration in your child, consider booking a consultation with our paediatric dental team to discuss the best methods of prevention.
How do I Remove my Kid’s Yellow Teeth?
There is a range of home remedies that you can use to help treat your kid’s yellow teeth. Try adding a couple of drops of lemon juice to baking soda and mix it into a paste that your child can use when brushing their teeth. Other options include improving your child’s oral hygiene or avoiding foods that are acidic and sugary.
If there is no improvement in your kid’s yellow teeth, consider seeing a dentist for an examination and consultation.
Why are my Kid’s Teeth Yellow?
There are various reasons to explain why your kid’s teeth may be yellow.
These reasons include:
- Permanent Teeth Coming In
- Plaque Build-up
- Tetracycline/Other Medications
- Tooth Trauma/Injury
- Congenital Conditions
- Genetic Factors
Can You Whiten Children’s Teeth?
The Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association recommends that whitening should not be used for children under 16.
If you want to whiten your child’s teeth, you should consider professional services and book an appointment for a consultation with your dentist.
How do I Avoid My Kid’s Teeth Turning Yellow?
Promoting good dental hygiene is the most effective way in protecting your child from yellow teeth. You should also try to avoid any food or drink that are sugary or acidic or allowing your child to sleep with their milk bottle.
Why is One of My Child’s Teeth More Yellow?
There are a few reasons why one of your child’s tooth is more yellow than others. When new adult teeth come in, they are naturally more yellow. This discolouration can be more apparent when they are next to whiter baby teeth.
Another explanation is if your child has experienced a facial injury, which has caused tooth trauma. This will make the tooth appear with a dark discolouration.
Are There Natural Ways to Remove Tooth Discolouration?
You can remove your child’s tooth discolouration by promoting good oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing and flossing their teeth at least two times a day, as well as avoiding food or drink that are sugary or acidic.
You can also make a natural solution of lemon juice and baking soda. This paste can be used to brush your child’s teeth and may help remove the yellow discolouration.
Why are My Child’s Teeth More Yellow After Braces?
You may notice that your child’s teeth are more yellow after wearing braces. This is because it is more difficult to remove the plaque of their teeth and cause a build-up whilst wearing braces.
Eventually, this build-up can cause your child’s teeth to appear more discoloured.
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