Causes of Yellow Teeth For Kids

Getting Your Child to Care About Their Teeth

Parents often ask us about how to whiten their teeth and how to keep their kid’s teeth from yellowing.

Lets start with the main causes of discoloration: Extrinsic Stains and Intrinsic Stains.

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains affect the surface of the enamel, which is the hard, outermost layer of teeth. Although tooth enamel can be easily stained, these stains can typically be removed or corrected.

You’ll see the evidence of extrinsic stains on the surface of your teeth’s enamel, the hard outer layer that protects the interior of your tooth.

Children’s teeth can be yellowed for many of the same reasons adult children end up discolored, as well as some reasons adults might not encounter.

Food and Drink

Plenty of foods can cause staining of the outer layer of the teeth. For adults, this normally takes the form of coffee stains. For children, it could be any number of the things they consume.

Combined with the bad brushing habits common in small children, and you can end up with this problem before you know it.

Smoking and Chewing Tobacco

Nicotine from smoking and chewing tobacco doesn’t just develop an unhealthy addiction; it leaves yellowish or brownish surface stains on your teeth, too.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains occur within the inner structure of the tooth, called the dentin, making these stains more difficult to remove.

Intrinsic stains develop within the tooth itself due to a variety of factors that causes alterations to the light-transmitting properties of the enamel and the material underneath.


Multiple prescription medications can cause intrinsic staining as a side effect. The antibiotic tetracycline, for example, can cause intrinsic staining if taken by children while their teeth are still developing. For adults, the acne-fighting drug minocycline can stain teeth.

Additional Causes


As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth gets worn away, revealing the natural yellow color of dentin.


Some people have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others.

Tooth Trauma

Impact of an accident or physical trauma can crack tooth enamel and damage the tooth’s interior.

Grinding Teeth

Tooth grinding is an unconscious habit some people have when they’re stressed, especially while asleep. Also known as bruxism, it’s quite harmful to tooth enamel, weakening it to the point of cracking and yellowing.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

There are a few ways to keep your families teeth a bright white.

  • Good brushing habits
  • Eating better
  • Not using tobacco
  • Regular teeth cleaning at your dentist

Ask us about these next time you come in for a visit.

Make an appointment with Dr. Port if you’re kids are due for a teeth cleaning.

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