When you first notice that your child has yellow teeth, your head begins to swell with guilt about not enforcing dental hygiene. However, even children with impeccable brushing habits can still fall prey to yellow teeth. While occasionally yellow teeth may point to a health issue, most of the time the discoloration can be easily reversed without pain or much effort.
When a child has yellow teeth, you can assume that his brushing habits are not up to par. However, poor dental hygiene is not always to blame. Antibiotics or iron supplements can discolor baby teeth. Rarely, serious conditions like heart disease or hepatitis will also cause a yellowing of the teeth, according Mayo Clinic prosthodontist Dr. Alan Carr. On the other hand, yellow teeth may be nothing more than food or beverage stains from soda or chocolate.
Occasionally a child’s yellow teeth are linked to a genetic dental disorder called dentinogenesis imperfecta. There are several types of this disorder. Type I is linked to people with a weak skeletal system. Types II and III are not linked to other disorders but often result in hearing loss according to Genetics Home Reference of the National Library of Medicine. Often a child with dentinogenesis imperfecta has a parent with the same condition.
Long Term Effects
The long-term effects of yellow teeth vary greatly depending on the cause of the yellowing. Yellow teeth may be prone to decay and weakness, causing chipped teeth. This should cause concern for children of all ages, as baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth. Yellow teeth also pose social concerns. If the discoloration is extreme, it is possible that your child will be teased, adding increased pressure to seek treatment.
If your child has yellow teeth, you should seek the advice of a dental professional to ensure there are no serious or chronic underlying conditions. Some conditions may require placing caps on the teeth to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. Sealants are also likely to help avoid decay if poor brushing is likely to blame. To treat all causes of yellowing, DDS Daniel Ravel states that pediatric dentistry now allows for traditional whitening and veneers previously offered solely to adults.
If your child’s yellow teeth appear to be the result of poor brushing or surface stains, you can take measures at home to whiten his teeth. Start by checking his brushing habits and technique. Ensure he brushes every surface of his teeth twice a day and spends at least two minutes brushing per session. Use a kid-friendly fluoride mouthwash if your child is old enough, in accordance with the product’s label. Whitening strips and gels may also be appropriate for children over the age of 12. However, dental health should always take precedence over appearance. Never substitute a mouthwash or whitening agent for a good brushing.