Everyone has the potential to get yellow teeth, but when you notice that your child’s teeth suddenly look more yellow than normal, you should identify the root cause so you can determine the right treatment. Read on in this blog from Pediatric Dentistry of Horizon West to find out what could be causing it and how to treat it.
Poor Oral Hygiene - If your child doesn’t regularly brush and floss, they will develop plaque and tartar buildup which is a yellow sticky substance made of bacteria that feeds off of sugars that are left behind in the mouth. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it needs to be removed professionally at the dentist.
Thin Enamel - Primary teeth are naturally thinner than adult teeth and can appear yellower as a result. This is because the underlying layer of dentin beneath the enamel, which is yellow in color, can show through in thin and transparent teeth.
This may be even worse in some children who have severe enamel erosion or have genetically thinner than usual teeth. Other children have genetic disorders that cause their teeth to appear yellow.
Tooth Eruption - Even though permanent teeth are thicker and whiter than primary teeth, this is not always the case when they first erupt. This is because the enamel can be more transparent when the teeth are first erupting.
Since these teeth actually have more dentin than primary teeth, this can make the teeth look significantly yellow. However, this is only temporary and once the teeth calcify, they will look much whiter. This is because the nerve shrinks and the teeth thicken.
Staining - Another possibility is that your child’s teeth have just become stained. This could be a result of consuming excessive staining foods and drinks that are highly pigmented and acidic or it could be because they were exposed to too much fluoride at a young age, which causes fluorosis.
Certain antibiotics that contain tetracycline can turn your child’s teeth yellow and certain vitamins like iron supplements can stain the teeth.
Dental Trauma - If your child has suffered from an injury to the mouth or damaged their teeth from teeth grinding or biting into something hard, this can also cause discoloration. You should contact a dentist right away because the tooth might be infected and this can be a sign of nerve death.
The best way to prevent tooth discoloration and yellowing of the teeth is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes and flossing. Attending regular dental cleanings will remove surface stains and limiting your consumption of staining foods and drinks will prevent tooth stains.
To prevent fluorosis, children under 3 should only use fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Between ages 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount should be used. At dental cleanings, the dentist scrapes away plaque and tartar buildup which could be causing a yellow film to form over your child’s teeth.
Reduce your child’s consumption of sugar which can contribute to enamel erosion and can lead to yellower teeth. When yellow teeth are a result of dental trauma, your child may need a pulpotomy or a root canal.
In some cases, depending on your child’s age and oral health, teeth whitening can be performed to improve discoloration. A single discolored permanent tooth can be covered with a dental crown, dental bonding, or a veneer.
If you’ve noticed that your child’s teeth appear much yellower than normal, you should bring them to a pediatric dentist to get a checkup and x-rays taken.
At Pediatric Dentistry of Horizon West, we can determine the source of discoloration and develop a treatment plan to restore your little one’s pearly whites. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hany Azer.