One of the most exciting times during the development of your child is to witness the shift from baby teeth to adult teeth. This usually starts around the age of 6 when the permanent teeth begin to come in. The tooth fairy stories are going to be part of the daily conversation and you may need to make dental visits more often just to get those falling baby teeth and growing permanent teeth in check.
During this stage of growth and development, one of the things that you may also notice is discolouration. Is this normal and does it affect your child’s oral health? Here’s what you should know about yellow teeth in children…
What Causes Teeth to Turn Yellow?
Some of the possible reasons for yellow teeth are:
- Plaque and tartar build-up
Poor oral hygiene can cause plaque and tartar build-up. These are soft irritants that adhere to the tooth surface. Because they take on a slightly yellowish colour, it may contribute to the yellowing of the teeth. Hygiene also plays a big role in oral health. With good hygiene care, we can prevent dental diseases and help your child achieve optimal oral health.
- Staining from food and drinks
Children who are fond of consuming sodas, citrus, acidic juices such as lemon juice, and dark-coloured berries may have more yellow teeth than those who do not. These foods and drinks naturally stain the tooth enamel. While they do not directly affect oral health, over time, this will cause some cosmetic concerns.
Cavities can also contribute to the yellowing of the teeth. As decay eats away the tooth, it will eventually reach the dentin. At this stage, the teeth may take on a yellowish or brownish colour. Cavities are common in children because they are fond of candies and have yet to establish good oral health care. So, it is important to keep watch of how they brush and floss to ensure decay prevention.
We can also blame nature for yellow teeth with some people naturally having slightly more yellow teeth than others. It can also occur due to having thin enamel, thus showing more of the yellow dentin layer underneath.
Why Are My Child’s Permanent Teeth Coming in Yellow?
Adult teeth are naturally darker and more yellowish than baby teeth. So, as the baby teeth fall out and get replaced by adult teeth, you may notice that your child’s smile looks slightly yellow. This is because permanent teeth have a thicker dentin layer. The dentin is the yellow layer of teeth below the enamel which contributes to the yellowish colour of adult teeth.
With some teeth falling out and adult teeth coming in, your child’s smile may look unmatched with permanent teeth emerging at different times. This is a normal occurrence and it does not affect your child’s oral health.
Just give it some time until all the adult teeth have settled in place. With good oral hygiene and frequent dental visits, your child’s new smile should eventually look brighter and whiter.
How to Prevent Yellow Teeth?
While yellow teeth can be normal, hygiene and diet are some of the factors that can also be to blame for a stained smile. The good news is that there are many ways to prevent these. Here are some tips to help you take care of your child’s pearly whites as they grow older:
- Teach them good oral hygiene care
Proper brushing and flossing prevent plaque and tartar from sticking to the tooth. These also prevent cavities that may contribute to yellow teeth. As they get started with building a good habit of taking care of their teeth, help them learn how to effectively brush and floss. This will keep the teeth healthy and disease-free as they get older.
Aside from staying away from staining food and drinks, a healthy diet can also help with maintaining excellent oral health and beautiful pearly whites. Encourage your child to eat their fruits and vegetables to prevent decay and discolouration. Foods that are rich in Vitamin D and calcium also keep the teeth strong and healthy.
- Schedule routine dental visits
Dental visits for check-ups and teeth cleaning should be scheduled every 6 months. This allows your child’s pediatric dentist to monitor their teeth as they grow and develop. Prevention and early treatment also help avoid serious dental conditions that may significantly affect your child’s oral health.
How Do I Fix My Child’s Yellow Teeth?
If your child has yellow teeth, the first thing you should do is to determine what is causing it. If it is a newly erupted adult tooth, it is natural for it to be slightly yellow. Better to leave it alone and allow the other teeth to grow in.
But if the cause is poor oral hygiene, it is better to get started now with improving your child’s habits before it gets worse. Take the time to teach them how to properly brush their teeth. Use a fluoride-rich toothpaste for improved cavity protection. This will prevent the teeth from further yellowing and reduce some of the present discolouration. Cutting back on sugary treats and eating healthy prevent yellow teeth from staining and decay.
Should I Whiten My Kid’s Teeth?
Children’s teeth are a lot more vulnerable and sensitive, so teeth whitening is not the best option as this can trigger enamel damage and teeth sensitivity. Be more open to the waiting game when it comes to your child’s teeth as it can still improve over time. Also, as said in the previous section, look for the cause of the problem and focus on resolving this to prevent further staining.
If you are still unsure of what is best for your child’s smile, our dental team can help! Book an appointment with us and we’d gladly help you determine the proper steps to treat and prevent yellow teeth and to improve your child’s oral health as they grow.