As a parent, you keep a close eye on your child’s health and well-being. But what if you notice that one or more of their teeth looks discolored? What could this mean? Should you be concerned? Read on, and the team at Willow Pediatric Dentistry will discuss the top 5 most common causes of discolored teeth in kids.
This is a very common cause of stained or discolored teeth. Just like adults, what kids eat and drink can affect the color of their teeth. The outer layer of tooth enamel is porous, and can absorb certain pigments from foods and drinks, especially from tea, coffee, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and other very dark or highly pigmented foods.
So consider your child’s diet. If they consume a lot of very heavily pigmented foods and drinks, this may be the cause of their stains. Brushing their teeth or rinsing their mouths after meals can help prevent these stains from occurring.
If your child is not brushing their teeth properly, this will cause the buildup of plaque and tartar. Tartar is yellow-brown in appearance, so it can make the teeth look discolored. Tartar is also more likely to pick up pigments from the things your child eats, which can further contribute to staining. This can be removed at your child’s next six-month preventive dental cleaning.
To avoid plaque and tartar buildup, make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. You’ll need to brush for them until about the age of 5-6, then supervise them to make sure they are brushing their teeth correctly.
If only one or two teeth look discolored, and you notice large holes or pits accompanied by yellow, brown, grey, black, or dark staining, this may be due to a cavity. Cavities can cause the surrounding healthy enamel to turn dark as it decays.
Other signs of cavities include tooth tenderness and sensitivity. If you think your child has a cavity, you should take them to see Dr. Sam at Willow Pediatric Dentistry right away. Their tooth will need to be restored with a filling or a dental crown.
If your child is losing their baby teeth and you notice that their new adult teeth look yellow, this is nothing to worry about. One of the reasons baby teeth are called “milk teeth” is that they are a brilliant, milky-white color.
Adult teeth, though, are not as white, especially when they first emerge. This is because there is more “dentin.” This is the layer of tooth material underneath the enamel. It’s yellow in color, unlike the white enamel, so this makes the adult teeth look more yellow.
Don’t worry, though. Over time, your child’s adult teeth will lighten up a bit, and once all of their baby teeth have been replaced by adult teeth, their smile will look even and beautiful.
If your child’s tooth is injured, it may turn dark or gray. This is similar to a bruise in another part of the body. It’s possible for the tooth to heal on its own in some cases, but in other cases, your child may need endodontic treatment like a root canal to restore the tooth.
If your child has experienced dental trauma, it’s best to bring them to a dentist to get a professional’s opinion on what you should do.
Still not sure why your child’s teeth are discolored? Dr. Sam is here to help. As an expert pediatric dentist in Rancho Santa Margarita, Dr. Sam can diagnose your child’s issue and recommend the appropriate treatment, if needed. Give us a call at (949) 966-0669 or contact us online to schedule an appointment right away.