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The Most Common Causes of Yellow Teeth in Children

Most of us know what causes yellow teeth in adults, but what about yellow teeth in children? There are plenty of potential causes, and they can be either external or internal.
If your child has yellow teeth, you may want to know what’s causing them and what can be done about it.

What You Need to Know About Tooth Discolouration

Firstly, let’s discuss tooth discolouration. While this is something that can happen naturally when the white colour of your child’s teeth changes, tooth discolouration can be external or internal. The external discolouration is often temporary and can be the result of many different things. But internal discolouration can happen due to medical conditions.
While yellow teeth in children may be evident just by looking at the teeth, there are a few signs that can help establish if your child is suffering from any type of discolouration, such as:

  • Black stains on your child’s teeth due to trauma
  • The teeth look brown because your little one has either suffered some sort of injury or had a dark beverage to drink
  • Your child’s teeth may appear blue, purple or red due to trauma or eating dark foods
  • Teeth have white stains, which is often an early indication of tooth decay
  • Your kid’s teeth appear orange, which is a sign of bacteria building up and poor oral hygiene habits

What Causes Yellow Teeth in Children

There are plenty of things that cause children’s teeth to turn yellow. The most common causes are often external and easy to remedy, while others are internal and a little harder to detect.
Below, we discuss some of the most common causes.


Sometimes, babies who suffer from severe jaundice when they’re born may have yellow-tinted teeth when they start teething.

Supplements and Chemicals

Metallic salts and iron supplements are another common cause of yellow teeth in children. Even some types of antiseptics that you find in throat sprays, lozenges and toothpaste can lead to discolouration. What’s more, chlorhexidine, a common ingredient used to remove plaque, can cause temporary yellow teeth.

Foods and Drinks

Some foods and drinks are known to stain teeth and even break down enamel. Dark foods and drinks like cranberry juice, grape juice and blueberries can all discolour a child’s teeth if they repeatedly consume them during their developing years.
Also, acidic foods like tomatoes and oranges can cause yellow teeth in children. Try to get your child into the habit of rinsing their mouth out after eating and drinking to minimise the effects of dark foods or drinks.


Fluorosis is an irreversible condition that’s caused by taking too much fluoride during the earlier years. Too much fluoride damages enamel-forming cells, causing the teeth to turn yellow. To prevent fluorosis, make sure your child brushes with a small amount of toothpaste and doesn’t swallow it.

Poor Brushing Habits

We know that kids hate brushing their teeth, and that can result in plaque formation and yellow teeth.


Many children’s medications contain iron, and that can cause discolouration. The same goes for certain antibiotics.


Trauma can lead to yellow teeth in children if capillaries inside the teeth break. When the capillaries burst, hemosiderin leaks into the canals in the teeth, changing their colour.

Congenital Disorders

There are loads of conditions children can have that can lead to yellow teeth. From dentin defects and enamel hypoplasia to metabolic disorders and even inherited conditions. In some instances, yellow teeth in children can be a sign of an underlying condition.


Tetracycline antibiotics can lead to yellow teeth. Women who take such medication are often discouraged from falling pregnant because of the bone defects it can lead to. The risk doesn’t end at birth, though. Children shouldn’t be exposed to the ingredient until they are 7 years or older to avoid yellow teeth.

How to Treat Yellow Teeth in Children

If your little one has yellow teeth, there are a number of treatment options you can try at home.

  • Use water and baking soda to brush your child’s teeth and get rid of the discolouration.
  • If your little one is taking iron supplements, be deliberate with brushing their teeth to avoid staining.
  • Use an adult toothbrush and toothpaste for better cleaning properties.
  • Some bleaching techniques can help whiten your child’s teeth, but these should only be done by a dentist or orthodontist.
  • We can use a pumice mixture to get rid of bacteria and stains that cause yellow teeth in children.
  • If the discolouration is due to trauma, it can be tricky to treat, but a dentist or orthodontist can discuss the possibility of permanent teeth getting damaged because of the injury and what to do about it.

How to Prevent Discoloured Teeth

There are treatment options available to treat yellow teeth in children, but preventative measures are always your best line of defence.
The first step is to make sure your child uses toothpaste with a low fluoride content in it, as more fluoride can lead to discoloured teeth. When you do start cleaning your little one’s baby teeth, use a soft cotton cloth and slowly move on to using a baby toothbrush. Also, try not to feed foods with a high sugar content. Foods high in sugar often lead to dental decay and cavities, causing yellow teeth in children.
Another tip is not to encourage your child to sleep with a milk bottle. Presence of sugars and milk make the environment just right for bacteria to breed in your child’s mouth.
Finally, teach your child good brushing habits from an early age. Teach your child to spit the toothpaste out so you don’t have to worry about them swallowing it, and you’re on your way to preventing yellow teeth in children.
Worried about your child’s teeth? Book an appointment with the team at Medland Orthodontics today.