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Say No To Yellow: Why A Child's Teeth Can Turn Yellow

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It's not unusual to see an adult with yellow teeth. This is partially caused by the aging process, as well as general wear and tear. It's also due to certain dietary habits (for example, coffee and tea consumption) and lifestyle habits (smoking). However, the yellowing of an adult's teeth may be of little interest to you. As a parent, you may be more concerned about why your young child's baby teeth are becoming yellow. 

External Sources

Most of the typical external sources can quickly be ruled out. Of course, your young child isn't smoking, nor are they drinking coffee or red wine. Some dietary factors may play a role, since sodas and fruit juices can stain a tooth's surface enamel, and some foods can as well. The worst effects of this discoloration can be offset with efficient oral hygiene. You presumably already make sure that your child diligently brushes their teeth twice each day, or as directed by the staff at your family dentistry clinic.


There could be two causes for yellow baby teeth in children: external or internal. There may be discoloration from external sources—those caused by diet. The yellowing of your child's teeth may also be due to a natural, internal part of a tooth's structure. The outer layer of teeth is made of dental enamel, and this is the only part of a tooth you can physically touch or see—for the most part. Enamel is partially translucent, so you can see through it (to a very limited degree).

The Makeup of Baby Teeth

A child's dental enamel is thinner than an adult's. This makes baby teeth especially vulnerable to decay and general acidic corrosion. It's also this relative thinness that can make a child's teeth seem yellow—the translucence of their thin enamel makes the next layer of teeth somewhat visible. This next layer is a substance called dentin, which is naturally yellow. Although this all helps to explain why your child's teeth appear to be yellow, is it something that requires treatment?

A Dental Examination

Treatment may not be needed, but an examination is wise. Schedule an appointment with your family dentist. Your child may be experiencing yellow teeth due to a combination of factors—with their naturally thin enamel being corroded by elements of their diet; elements which may also be staining the surfaces of their teeth. A dentist can treat deficient enamel with fluoride, helping teeth to strengthen themselves via remineralization. A transparent resin sealant can also be added to teeth for extra protection. A child's teeth aren't generally whitened because this is typically only appropriate for mature dental enamel.

Contact a local family dentist to learn more.