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If you’ve noticed that your child’s teeth appear yellow, despite regular brushing, it may naturally cause some level of concern. There are many factors that can cause yellowing of teeth in children.
It’s important to understand that tooth discoloration can be either internal or external. Consequently, the treatment will depend on the cause of the discoloration. For this reason, it is important to visit your child’s dentist if you notice any discoloration.
One possible cause of teeth yellowing in children is a condition known as fluorosis. This condition is the result of ingesting too much fluoride during the formative years while the teeth were developing. While fluoride can be beneficial, it can also damage the cells responsible for forming enamel. This can result in a mineralization disorder that cause enamel below the surface of the teeth to increase and cause the teeth to turn yellow.
Excessive fluoride ingestion from other environmental sources, including high levels of fluoride in water, can also contribute to yellowing of the teeth. Unfortunately, this condition is not reversible. In the case of moderate to severe fluorosis, the only option to treat the problem may be composite veneers, which can be used to cover the surface of the affected teeth and restoring a bright, white look.
If your child has taken tetracycline while his or her teeth were forming, this could also be a possible culprit of yellow teeth. This antibiotic medication is contained in cold medication and can result in enamel staining. It may affect the tooth in patches or could affect the entire tooth, based on your child’s level of exposure as well as the part of the enamel that was being formed at the time that your child took the medication.
Bleaching techniques are necessary to remove the stains. Due to the risk of tooth yellowing, tetracycline is not typically prescribed for children under the age of eight.
Trauma to the tooth can also result in discoloration. This may occur if the nerve located in or near a tooth becomes damaged. When this is the case, the stain will only form in the tooth or teeth to which the nerve is attached. If you have noticed that your child has a tooth that is yellow or even gray due to nerve trauma, it is important to make a dentist appointment right away. Although teeth whitening can remove the stain on the outside of the tooth temporarily, the inside of the tooth will still need attention.
Food and Beverages
Food and beverages can be another common cause of yellow teeth in children. This is particularly common with food and beverages that contain some level of pigmentation, such as soda, cherries, blueberries, etc. The degree of staining that occurs will depend on the frequency and how long your child’s teeth were exposed to those products. If your child’s tooth enamel was still forming at the time that he or she was exposed, this could also have an impact. The best way to combat this problem is to have your child rinse with water after he or she eats or drinks anything with pigmentation or that is acidic.
Lack of Proper Dental Hygiene
Lack of proper dental hygiene can also result in yellowing of teeth in children. Brushing and flossing regularly is vital to removing plaque as well as any staining substances that could cause the teeth to yellow or become discolored. Make a habit of teaching your child to brush twice daily and floss once daily.
Other Possible Causes of Yellow Teeth in Children
Other possible cause of teeth yellowing in children can include genetics. Some individuals seem to have naturally thicker or brighter enamel than others. If you have noticed that your child seems to have yellow teeth despite proper dental hygiene and no other issues are present, consider whether anyone else in your family may also have the same issue, as the problem could be due to genetics.
If this is the case, consult with your dentist regarding possible treatment options, including teeth whitening, and at what age that might be appropriate for your child.
Aesthetic dentistry and tooth bleaching services are now available for children. Keep in mind, however, that it’s important to first isolate the cause of your child’s tooth yellowing to eliminate possible other areas of concern, including disease.
Like adults, children also want to have an attractive smile, with bright, white teeth. Children can often be incredibly self-conscious about their smiles, including discolorations and dental stains. Aesthetic dentistry and tooth bleaching can be a solution for resolving the problem of tooth yellowing in children and adults.