As parents, we find joy in seeing our children smile. When you notice one or more discolored teeth in your child’s smile, that joy can quickly turn to concern. Tooth discoloration can happen to both primary and permanent teeth. Usually it’s only a cosmetic issue, but sometimes discolored teeth indicate a more serious problem. These are some of the most common reasons for discolored teeth in children:
- Medications taken during pregnancy. Children of mothers who took tetracycline (an antibiotic) during pregnancy are more prone to having dark stains on their baby teeth.
- Newborn jaundice. When babies who have suffered from hyperbilirubinemia—the condition that causes jaundice—start teething, parents might notice a greenish-blue or brownish-red hue on newly erupted teeth.
- Too much fluoride or iron. Consuming excessive amounts of iron or fluoride can cause dark hues (iron) or white streaks (fluoride) on teeth.
- Injuries. An injury to the teeth or gums may cause your child’s teeth to look a bit pink or gray.
- Weak enamel. Your child’s discolored teeth may be blamed on your genetics. Some people are simply prone to weak enamel, which can manifest as discoloration when new teeth are developing.
- High fevers or illness. A high fever, infection or other serious illness as a baby can cause staining or discoloration in permanent teeth.
- Poor oral hygiene or consuming too many sugary drinks. Tooth decay can cause discoloration or staining.
While many of the causes of tooth discoloration are out of your control, you can help improve the health and appearance of your child’s teeth by making sure he or she brushes twice a day and flosses every day. Regular check-ups and professional dental cleanings in our office are important steps to keeping your child’s smile healthy.
If you notice a new discoloration on your child’s tooth, call us at 505-200-3516 for an appointment. Dr. Sjostrom can determine whether the staining indicates something more serious. Even if it is just a cosmetic concern, Dr. Sjostrom can suggest recommendations for how to correct or manage the discoloration. Don’t let discolored teeth get in the way of your child’s beautiful smile.