There are several factors that can cause teeth to appear yellow or discolored even after all of the baby teeth are lost, which usually around age 13 to 14.  These include poor brushing and flossing habits, diet factors, and thicker underlying layers of these more transparent permanent teeth showing through.  When it is this last factor sometimes whitening or bleaching teeth is an option.  Generally, whitening teeth products can be successful in at least 90% of patients, though it may not be an option for everyone.  Teeth darkened with the colors of yellow, brown or orange respond better to bleaching.  Gray stains caused by fluorosis (too much fluoride when the teeth were forming), or tetracycline use can be lightened, but results are not as dramatic.
Brushing and flossing regularly in order to remove plaque and staining substances can help teeth have less staining and less discoloration. You should teach your child to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid their teeth becoming stained and yellow.  If your child is brushing and flossing regularly and they or you are still concerned about the color of their teeth let their dentist know.
Today there are many methods available for whitening or bleaching teeth.  These include whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, whitening teeth in the dental office, or whitening teeth at home with trays that are custom or preformed.
Before Whitening:
After Whitening:
Patients with decay or hypersensitivity on their teeth are advised not to use whitening or bleaching products.  Know the condition of your child’s teeth and oral tissues with a thorough dental exam and cleaning before allowing them to use any whitening product.  You can ask us at Kona Kids Dentistry about the many options for whitening at your teens’ next visit and we’d be happy to go over those with you!