Yellow and Other Tooth Discoloration in Children

Yellow and Other Discolouration of Teeth in Children

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Devanshi Mehta (Paediatric & Preventive Dentist)
View more Paediatric & Preventive Dentist Our Panel of Experts

A child’s innocent and beautiful smile renders one of the greatest joys to their parents. However, sometimes your kiddo’s pearly whites may become yellow or other kinds of discolouration may happen, and this may affect your child’s beautiful smile. There is no need to worry as you can adopt various measures to improve your child’s teeth colour. If your kid’s teeth discolouration is giving you sleepless nights, you should stop worrying as in the following article we shall talk about causes, treatment and various preventive that you can take to improve your kid’s yellow or other discolouration of teeth.

What Is Tooth Discoloration?

Before we move ahead with the article, we should understand what exactly tooth discolouration is. Well, tooth discolouration may happen when the natural pearly white or ivory white colour of your kid’s teeth changes. Tooth discolouration can be of two types- external discolouration and internal discolouration. Where external discolouration may be temporary and may occur due to certain medication, food items etc., on the other hand, internal discolouration may happen mostly due to underlying medical conditions such as metabolic disorder, enamel hypoplasia, etc.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration in Children

If you are wondering why are my child’s teeth discoloured, then the following causes may help you understand it better.

1. Tooth Decay or Carries

Your child may have dental decay or cavity due to the activity of the bacteria in his mouth. This may cause brownish-black discolouration on the teeth.

2. Improper Oral Hygiene

If your kid does not follow proper oral hygiene and does not brush his teeth properly, it may lead to the formation of plague and thus change in the colour of the teeth may happen.

3. Fluorosis

Excessive fluoride in your kid’s formula milk, toothpaste or drinking water may lead to too much fluoride in your child’s mouth. Excess amounts of fluoride may result in a condition that may result in white streaks or patches on your kid’s teeth.


4. Certain Illnesses

Some kinds of illnesses or ailments such as hepatitis, recurrent high fever, etc. may lead to tooth discolouration in kids.

5. Jaundice

Sometimes babies who may get affected with severe jaundice after birth may have yellow or green-tinted teeth due to presence of more amount of bilirubin during dental development.

6. Injury

Sometimes an injury to the teeth may lead to tooth discolouration too. This may happen because the blood vessels may break and the blood may affect the tooth enamel. This effect may cause pinkish hue in the affected tooth which can turn into black with the passage of time.

7. Use of Certain Medications

The use of certain medications during pregnancy such as tetracycline, which is used to treat UTI, may lead to discolouration of the baby’s teeth.

8. Enamel Hypoplasia

This is a genetic condition in which either the enamel coating is missing from the teeth, or it is very thin. This may lead to discolouration.

The above-mentioned are some of the common causes of tooth discolouration in kids.

Signs of Teeth Discoloration

Though teeth discolouration may be very evident by looking at your kid’s teeth, however, following signs may help you in establishing if your kid is suffering from any kind of teeth discolouration.

  • Your child’s teeth may appear brown. This could be due to consuming some dark beverage or by some kind of injury.
  • Your kid’s teeth may have white stains. This may indicate early signs of tooth decay.
  • Your child’s teeth may appear red, purple or blue. This may occur due to trauma or by consuming some dark coloured food.
  • Your kid’s teeth may appear orange. This may indicate accumulation of bacteria on your kid’s teeth due to improper oral hygiene.
  • Your child’s teeth may have black stains. This may occur because of iron supplements, cavities or tooth trauma.

Ways to Treat Discoloration of Teeth

If you are thinking about how to whiten your kid’s teeth, the following treatment options may prove to be beneficial.

  1. You may use some baking soda and water to brush your kid’s teeth in order to get rid of tooth discolouration.
  2. If your kid is taking iron supplements, it may sometimes lead to tooth staining. Therefore, be very deliberate with brushing your kid’s teeth if he is taking iron supplements so that any stains do not set in. These stains go away once the supplements are stopped.

Ways to Treat Discoloration of Teeth

3. If discolouration may be due to trauma, it may be difficult to treat, but you should get in touch with the dentist to know the possibility of the permanent teeth getting affected due to the injury.
4. Your dentist may use a pumice mixture to get rid of stains and bacteria that may be causing tooth discolouration.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Discoloration

There are many treatment options available to treat tooth discolouration. However, it is better that you adopt preventive measures beforehand to keep any tooth discolouration at bay.

  • You should use the quantity of fluoridated toothpaste as recommended according to the age of the child. More amounts of fluoride may lead to tooth discolouration in children.
  • You should start cleaning your kid’s teeth as soon as they appear which means when he is a baby. You may start cleaning your baby’s teeth with a soft cotton cloth and then slowly you should start using a baby brush.
  • Do not feed foods which have high sugar content. Foods with more amounts of sugar may lead to dental caries and decay, which in turn may cause discolouration.
  • Brushing is a good habit that should be inculcated from an early age. However, parents may worry that their kid may swallow the toothpaste. Therefore, it is important that you teach your kid how to spit out the toothpaste.
  • Do not encourage your kid to sleep with a milk bottle at night. Presence of milk and sugar may make the apt environment for the bacteria to harbour in your kid’s mouth.


Following are some frequently asked questions reading tooth discolouration in toddlers and kids that most parents may like to know.

1. Are teeth whitening and bleaching products safe for children?

There are many over the counter teeth whitening and bleaching products available in the market. However, you should not use such products for your kid. These products mostly contain peroxide, which may do more harm than good to your child. It is strictly a big NO to use for milk teeth and in case whitening is required for permanent teeth in children, you should take advice from a dentist.

When to See the Doctor

As soon as you register any sign of tooth discolouration in your kid, it is suggested that you see your doctor. This is because, before you take any measure to treat tooth discolouration, it is important to establish the cause for the same and that only your doctor may be able to establish.

It is important to follow good oral hygiene for your child and if you observe any kind of discolouration, seek professional help at the earliest.

Also Read:

Oral Hygiene Tips for Kids
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) in Kids
Braces for Children’s Teeth

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