My eight-year old's teeth are really yellow, can I bleach them?

Sep 11 2013

My eight-year old’s teeth are really yellow, can I bleach them?

“My eight-year old’s teeth are really yellow, can I bleach them?”

I often get this question from parents when their child’s front adult teeth begin to come in the mouth.  Just yesterday I had a mother ask me about bleaching her eight-year old daughter’s teeth because they are yellow.

First, I am so glad that she is looking in her child’s mouth, hopefully when she is helping or overseeing her brushing at night time :).  Second, I told her that the “yellow” color or “stain” on the new front adult teeth are the result of the naturally darker, more yellow adult teeth erupting and they stand out since they are next to the very white, bright baby teeth.

If you have a concern over the color of your child’s teeth, it is always good to bring it up with your child’s pediatric dentist.  It could simply be the shade difference that exists between baby and adult teeth.  It could also be some stain built up over time that can often be removed by polishing the teeth.  There is also a chance that it could be an enamel defect in the tooth itself.  The exact situation can be diagnosed at their dental visit.

As far as bleaching kid’s teeth, it is good to wait until all of the permanent (adult) teeth erupt.  If you do it sooner, when the new, adult teeth erupt, they probably won’t match the already bleached teeth.  When they have all of their adult teeth (usually by age 12), OTC strips are a good option, although it does take a few weeks to see results.  Overnight rays and in-office procedures, while effective, are more expensive and typically not covered by insurance.  Whichever technique you choose, have them brush with a desensitizing toothpaste for a couple of weeks before bleaching to minimize “stinging” or “throbbing” during bleaching.

Dr Reid Pediatric DentistDr Reid is a Pugh Award distinguished board eligible pediatric dentist. She earned her pediatric specialty training through UCLA’s program at San Diego Rady Children’s Hospital. She has also served our servicemen as a Dental Officer at the Marine Corp Air Station, Miramar in San Diego. She’s also mommy to 5 year old Ezra. To follow her monthly blog posts, follow her at

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