Stained and discolored teeth in children can cause a lot of anxiety for parents. Is that spot actually a cavity? Why are my child’s teeth discolored? Will they always look like this? How can I prevent this from happening in the future? Having discolored teeth can also cause a child a lot of concern, so understanding the causes and treatments is important for both parents and children.
Causes of stains and discoloration on teeth
First, you have to understand the differences between stains and discoloration on teeth. Stains are external, on the surface, while discoloration is inside the tooth. External stains can be caused by:
- Tea, soft drinks, dark drinks, colored drinks, dyed foods, even dark healthy foods like strawberry juice.
- The contact with iron can cause external staining (such as metallic salts).
- Iron supplements or anything with a high level of iron.
- Improper brushing (excessive plaque is left behind builds up).
The discoloration is different. Factors known to cause intrinsic discoloration are:
- Metabolic disorders
- Systemic syndromes
- Dentin defects
- Stains of tetracycline
- Enamel hypoplasia
The causes of the stains are simple, But the causes of discolored teeth are more complex. Here are the two most common causes:
- Trauma: can cause tooth discoloration. This is caused by broken capillaries within the tooth.
- Fluorosis: The resulting tooth discoloration varies from chalky white to a brownish-black appearance. Fluorosis is caused by excessive intake of fluoride and is very rare.
If you suspect that the discolored tooth is more than trauma or massive amounts of fluoride, you will need to speak with your pediatric dentist. to determine the cause and the best treatment to address it.
There are many options for treating stained teeth; it’s best to contact your pediatric dentist for specific treatment recommendations based on the cause.
Preventing Future Stains
There are a few things we parents can do to greatly reduce the possibility of our children staining their teeth:
- Limit dark-colored drinks such as tea, dark sodas, etc.
- Limit consumption of highly colored foods, such as chocolates and other colored foods.
- Make sure your child brushes their teeth thoroughly every day, twice a day for two minutes.
Treatment of discolored teeth
In general, most discolored teeth are caused by cavities or certain dental conditions, or even by wearing braces and not being able to brush around them well. The treatment of discolored teeth caused by cavities could be solved by removing the cavity and placing a filling. Here are other options for cavities and other causes of tooth discoloration:
- Laminate veneers
- Bad toothpaste
Of course, treatment depends on the cause of the discolored teeth. The pediatric dentist will create a treatment plan that is right for your child.
Does my child have discolored or stained teeth?
Depending on the cause , there are some telltale signs, but always check with your dentist rather than try to self-diagnose what’s going on with your child’s teeth:
- Teeth are gray; this is probably caused by trauma.
- Teeth are blue, purple, or red; probably caused by food coloring or dental trauma.
- Teeth are brown; probably caused by a dark drink or dental trauma.
- Teeth have orange stains caused by improper brushing; bacteria build up.
- Teeth have white spots, it could be early cavities.
Taking your child to the pediatric dentist’s office will allow you to diagnose the possible cause of the stain or discoloration, treat it if indicated, and learn ways to prevent similar problems in the future.