As a parent, you may be surprised to discover the color difference between your child’s baby teeth and their permanent teeth. What once was a gleaming white smile of primary teeth may start to look a bit yellow or dingy as more permanent teeth emerge. Don’t worry; there are valid explanations for this change – some that are easily remedied and others that are perfectly normal.
Your child’s baby teeth primarily consist of enamel. Enamel is naturally white; therefore a thick enamel layer on a primary tooth results in a bright white appearance. Adult teeth also have enamel, but they have a thick dentin layer underneath. Unfortunately, dentin is a yellow material. Because of this dentin layer and a thinner enamel layer on your permanent teeth, a yellow hue naturally shows through, which makes the tooth look darker. This is obviously just a normal part of our tooth anatomy. However, it may be a lot more noticeable if the child has an adult tooth and a baby tooth side-by-side.
There are cases where yellow stains can indicate a dental problem. Tartar and mineral buildup on a tooth will appear yellow. Make sure your child is brushing twice a day and flossing diligently. In addition, your child will need to see the dentist every six months to have a professional cleaning and examination. Catching tartar buildup early can prevent an oral infection or other dental problem.
Another possibility to consider is a prolonged use of antibiotics or other medication as a baby. Fred Ferguson, a pediatric dentist, reports “If your child had a chronic illness or recurrent high fevers or is exposed to certain medications or to excess fluoride over long periods during their infant or toddler years, it will probably not affect his baby teeth but can cause his adult teeth to grow in discolored.”
If you are concerned about your child’s yellow teeth, always consult your dentist. While the shade difference may be nothing to worry about, it could also be a sign that your child needs a professional teeth cleaning or other dental service. Grateful Dental helps patients of all ages achieve both a healthy and attractive smile!