As children start losing their baby teeth and their new adult teeth come in, a lot of parents ask, "why are their new teeth yellow?" and "is this something we should be worried about?" These are great questions! First off, this is definitely nothing to worry about! Adult teeth are naturally more yellow in color than baby teeth, and here are the reasons why:

  • Every tooth is made up of layers: an outer 'white' layer (enamel), an inner 'yellow' layer (dentin), and the innermost layer containing blood vessels and nerves (pulp). Baby teeth and adult teeth look different based on the amount of thickness of the layers of enamel and dentin!
  • Baby teeth have thin layers of dentin, meaning less of the 'yellow' layer. The enamel in baby teeth is also more opaque, making it harder to see the yellow layer through the white. All of this together makes baby teeth look super bright and white!
  • Adult teeth have a thicker dentin layer, meaning more 'yellow.' The enamel is also semi-translucent, allowing the yellow color underneath to show through more easily. This allows adult teeth to be more yellow in color.

One last question you may have is: "can we do anything about the yellow teeth?"

  • We don't recommend teeth whitening in office or at home whitening kits for young children. These products can make teeth extremely sensitive and uncomfortable for your child.
  • Also, if your child has a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth currently in the mouth, there are still more adult teeth to come in to replace those baby teeth. If you choose to whiten teeth at this time, the new set of adult teeth coming in will be a different color - you won't be able to specifically whiten the new teeth to match the old ones!
  • Once a child has all of their adult teeth in their late teenage years, we can go over different safe methods of whitening their teeth to reduce the chances of sensitivity and to keep their teeth healthy.

So are yellow teeth bad? Not at all! We always want to emphasize the importance of strong and healthy teeth is by not having any cavities - not the color of the teeth. Having white teeth doesn't always mean a tooth is healthy!

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