This is one of the most common questions I get from parents of 6 and 7 year-olds. Even though there are multiple reasons why your child’s permanent teeth are yellow, the most common reason is the intrinsic color difference between the permanent teeth and baby teeth.
What Causes Yellow Teeth in Kids
This yellow appearance is also enhanced by the fact that they sit right next to baby teeth. This contrast between they very white baby teeth makes the grown up teeth look even more yellow.
Primary teeth have a milky white appearance when compared to the sometimes yellowish appearance of the permanent teeth. Primary teeth have thinner enamel, less amount of dentin and dentin in primary teeth is less yellow in color.
Permanent teeth have a greater amount of dentin, which is yellow in color. Since enamel is translucent the color of the dentin shows through. When all the permanent teeth have erupted the color will blend and appear uniform.
Young permanent teeth have very large nerve canals when they erupt and these teeth are more transparent, leading to a yellower appearance. As we age, the canals slowly calcify and the tooth will naturally lighten.
What can be done?
1. Good oral hygiene is always key. We recommend the use of an electric toothbrush as soon as the permanent teeth erupt. This will help remove any surface stains on the teeth.
2. Make sure you see us for a professional cleaning every 6 months.
3. Bleaching: we do not recommend the use of over-the-counter bleaching materials until your child is about 16. It can cause severe sensitivity and if used while your child is in mixed dentition the new teeth erupting will be mismatched.
As always feel free to call us at 215-860-9808 if you have any questions or concerns.
Dr. Ross Levine is a board certified pediatric dentist and has been honored by both
The Bucks County Courier Times and Philadelphia Magazine as a
Top Pediatric Dentist in Bucks County.