Your child’s smile lights up your life, and one of your biggest responsibilities is making sure that your child learns how to take care of their teeth. Naturally, you keep an eye out for changes in your child’s appearance that let you know when something might be wrong, and yellow teeth are concerning.
As you prepare to schedule your child’s next dental appointment, use these possible causes of yellow teeth in children as a springboard for a conversation with their dentist that helps you find a solution.
1. Know What Is Normal
People often think that teeth should be perfectly white, but the truth is that natural teeth colors can range from white to slightly yellow shades without anything being wrong.
Permanent teeth also tend to have thinner enamel and more of the underlying dentin than baby teeth, which can cause your child’s adult teeth to look yellow compared to their bright white primary set. If your child is in the middle of losing their first teeth, then you may not notice the yellow once all of their teeth come in.
2. Inquire About Developmental Defects
Changes within your child’s body can affect the appearance of their teeth. In some cases, yellow teeth are caused by defects that occur as the teeth are being formed. For instance, enamel hypoplasia is considered to be a cosmetic condition that has several different causes.
One of the most common causes of enamel hypoplasia in children is exposure to too much fluoride at an early age when the teeth are still developing. Taking certain medications or genetic factors can also cause enamel hypoplasia.
During your child’s dental checkup, be prepared to answer questions about your child’s family background and life experiences to help with the diagnosis. For instance, knowing that your child grew up in an area with heavy fluoride levels helps your dentist offer solutions to prevent further damage.
When yellow teeth are caused by intrinsic factors, traditional whitening treatments may not work. For this reason, you may want to explore other options for covering the weakened areas of enamel, such as crowns or veneers, once your child is in their later teens.
3. Watch Out for Food and Beverage Stains
Staining is a common cause of yellow teeth. You should consider your child’s diet to be the culprit of their yellow teeth if they frequently consume highly pigmented foods or beverages, such as soda and tea.
Keep in mind that kids with a healthy diet can still develop yellow stains. For instance, spices such as turmeric contain high levels of pigment, and fruits such as pomegranate can lead to staining. The good news is that most surface-level stains are removable during your child’s regular dental cleanings.
4. Get Them Checked for Cavities
Tooth decay does not always start off as a big black hole. When tooth enamel is exposed to acids and bacteria, yellow and white areas form that are considered to be early forms of decay. Over time, these areas may turn darker yellow or brown shades if they are not treated.
If tooth decay is detected during your child’s exam, then a tooth-colored composite filling can be used to help the restoration blend in with the rest of their teeth.
5. Consider the Possibility of Tooth Trauma
Children play hard, and they may not notice right away that they hurt a tooth bad enough to cause serious trauma. If only one or two of your child’s teeth look darker than the others, then a dental injury could be the culprit.
Once a tooth is severely damaged, blood can leak into the dentin and cause staining similar to a bruise. The root could also become infected or die, which alters the tooth color. Since tooth trauma is often only visible on an X-ray, an urgent appointment is critical for preserving a tooth and restoring the color.
At Ashley Dental Associates, P.A., we understand the importance of helping your child maintain their bright smile. Give us a call with your concerns so that we can identify the source of yellow teeth and make recommendations for treatment.