If your child’s teeth look yellow, you may be wondering if you should be concerned about their oral health. Why are their teeth discolored, and should you see a dentist for help? In this blog from Milktooth Pediatric Dentistry, we’ll discuss what you need to know about the common causes of yellow teeth in kids.
Your child’s baby teeth are often called “milk teeth” due to their milky-white, bright appearance. So you may be thinking that their adult teeth should look equally bright and white, right?
Wrong. In fact, adult teeth are usually quite a bit more yellow than baby teeth when they first begin to erupt from the age of 6-12. This is particularly noticeable when your child has a few permanent teeth next to their remaining white baby teeth.
There are a couple of reasons that adult teeth look more yellow. First, the nerve inside the adult tooth is very large when it first erupts, compared to later in their teen years. Over time, the nerve shrinks and the tooth starts to thicken from the inside, which provides it with a whiter appearance as your child grows older.
Also, adult teeth have more “dentin” inside of them. This is the layer of material that sits below the white enamel. Unlike enamel, dentin has a natural dark yellow hue. This means that the tooth may look a bit more yellow, even if it’s completely healthy.
So if your child’s teeth look yellow, but the color is uniform and only their adult teeth are yellow, this is probably the cause, and there’s nothing to worry about. Over time, their adult teeth will naturally become whiter.
Genetic factors play a large part in pediatric health, even in their mouths. Some children are simply born with weaker or thinner enamel, which can mean they’re more prone to cavities over time.
In addition, as mentioned in section #1, the enamel is bright and white, while the dentin below it is more yellow in color. So if your child has weak or thin enamel due to genetic factors, their teeth may look more yellow than white.
Dentists can usually determine whether or not your child has thin enamel. If they do, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means you and your child need to take special steps to care for their mouth properly, since their weaker teeth may be more susceptible to cavities and tooth infections. Your dentist can tell you more and help you learn what steps you should take to properly care for your child’s teeth.
Just like adults, kids can suffer from teeth stains if they’re not brushing properly. Over time, a sticky film called plaque builds up on their teeth, and can harden into tartar, which has a yellowish-brown color.
Plaque and tartar can also pick up stains from foods and beverages, causing further yellowing or discoloration of the teeth. If you notice that your child’s teeth are yellow and also have other stains and discoloration, this may be the issue.
If this is the case, you need to see a dentist like Dr. Amy Shah right away for a checkup, to get your child’s teeth cleaned, and to make sure you learn how to clean their teeth properly and prevent plaque and tartar buildup in the future.
If you’re worried about your child’s yellow teeth and need help in Ukrainian Village, Noble Square, or West Town, the team at Milktooth Pediatric Dentistry is here for you. Contact us online or call us at (773) 904-0095 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Amy Shah right away.