My Child’s teeth are yellow no matter what I do– What is going on?


This is one of the most common questions we get about 2nd,  3rd and 4th grade children.    While plenty of kids who need more help brushing, the most common reason for yellow teeth is the inherent differences between permanent teeth and baby teeth as well as young vs older permanent teeth.     Here are some examples:


Young permanent teeth have really REALLY big nerves inside of them.  Like 300% bigger for young kids.    This means that the tooth is more hollow and transparent than younger teeth and therefore appears more yellow.   This is normal and is not usually a risk for cavities or other dental problems.    As we age, the nerve becomes smaller and the tooth naturally thickens from the inside.  (See photos below)  This thickening, in turn, also makes the tooth naturally brighten up.

                                                       9 year old                         17 year old

                                                                                        young tooth.PA                adultPA.edited

                                                     Large nerve                              Small nerve

 This temporary hollowness is also why so many young kid’s teeth are cold sensitive to ice cream or cold drinks.


 This slightly yellow appearance is enhanced by the fact that they sit right next to baby teeth.   This contrast between they very white baby teeth makes the grown up teeth look even more yellow.

  Yellow Teeth 7 yo

Fortunately, as kids approach 5th and 6th grade the baby teeth fall out and the the front teeth no longer appear so yellow.


What can or should be done? 

Usually, time will take care of most all of the color concerns of these teeth.   Be sure to mention this to Dr Brandon or Dr Kat if your child is at all self conscious or your have concerns.   Studies show that a simple spin brush can slightly whiten the teeth.    We do not recommend whitening toothpaste as they contain Titanium Dioxide that just ‘colors’ the teeth white and does not really fix anything.     At home dental bleaching with a custom tray using  a specifically developed concentration designed for children is often very effective and comfortable.      If you have questions about this please don’t hesitate give us a call!