Why Are My Kid's Teeth Yellow?

Every parent wants their child to have beautiful, pearly white teeth that their child can feel confident in. However, that isn’t always the case. If you’re concerned about discoloration in your child’s teeth, consider what age they are and if they have baby teeth or permanent teeth. 


Baby teeth, also known as milk teeth, are naturally whiter than permanent teeth. If your child is starting to receive their first few permanent teeth, they may appear visibly more yellow in comparison to their pearly white baby teeth. However, this is normal and has to do with the proportion of nerve in your childs’ tooth and the density of the tooth. 


Over time, this tooth will thicken and their permanent teeth will appear whiter. This blog from Willow Pediatric Dentistry is going to discuss other causes of yellow teeth in children, especially baby teeth.

Causes of Yellow Teeth in Children

If your child does not practice good oral hygiene, yellow teeth could be a sign of plaque and tartar buildup. It’s also possible that your child has a very thin enamel. The inside layer of your tooth known as dentin is yellow. Thin enamel can make your teeth more transparent and cause the underlying yellow dentin to show through. 


Other causes of yellow teeth include:

  • Fluorosis (caused by excess fluoride)
  • Staining caused by the antibiotic tetracycline
  • Dental trauma
  • Staining medicines, chemicals, or supplements
  • Highly pigmented or acidic foods/drinks
  • Congenital disorders such as jaundice

Treating Yellow Teeth

When yellow teeth are caused by poor oral hygiene, the most important thing is to have plaque and tartar professionally removed through scaling and root planing at the dentist and implementing consistent brushing and flossing. 


Dental trauma should be treated at the dentist and talk to your doctor about any medications or conditions that could be contributing to tooth staining. For children with thin enamels, they should see a dentist about this because their weaker teeth are more vulnerable to developing cavities, tooth sensitivity, and damage. 


Your child may be able to undergo professional teeth whitening to improve the appearance of discoloration, but this should only be done under the guidance of a professional dentist.

Preventing Yellow Teeth

Prevention begins with your oral hygiene routine. Your child should brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss once each day. However, consult with a dentist if you believe fluorosis could be the cause of their tooth discoloration, as they may need to use low fluoride toothpaste. 


Children can not brush their teeth by themselves until they are about 7 or 8 years old. It is up to you to stress the importance of oral hygiene until they can do it on their own. Monitor your child when they first start brushing their teeth to make sure they are not swallowing the toothpaste, which is a habit that is broken at around 6 or 7.


Feed your child a balanced diet that is not too high in sugary or acidic foods that contribute to tooth decay and staining. For young children, milk bottles should be avoided at night time and you should never put anything in them other than water or milk. Excessive bottle use, especially at night, can cause baby bottle tooth decay.

Schedule Your Child’s Next Dental Cleaning at Willow Pediatric Dentistry

If you’re concerned about the color of your child’s teeth, bring them into Willow Pediatric Dentistry so we can perform an oral exam and thoroughly clean their teeth. We can determine the root cause of the discoloration and any alternative treatments that can be considered. Call us at (949) 966-0669 or book online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sam Alzayat.

Want to Chat?

Visit us at:

22032 El Paseo, Suite 215
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

See us on:

Monday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday: 8am-5pm
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Thursday: 8am-5pm
Friday: 8am-5pm