When you have children, you want them to have a healthy and beautiful smile as much as you want one for yourself. Tooth discoloration is one problem that can not only have a negative impact on your child’s quality of life, but it can sometimes be a sign of a larger underlying issue. If you have concerns and questions, the caring team at AC Pediatric Dentistry can help.
A great first step to addressing a problem like tooth discoloration and staining in children is learning more about the causes, as well as steps for prevention and removal. Take a moment to read over the following informative overview that can start you and your child on a journey to a healthier and happier smile.
What is tooth discoloration?
As the name implies, tooth discoloration or tooth staining refers to either baby teeth or adult teeth that aren’t the bright white that most of us expect. Discoloration can range from a light yellow to brown and even black in the most severe cases. In some cases, tooth discoloration is actually a perfectly normal part of growth and development, while in others it may be a sign of tooth decay or infection.
One cause of tooth discoloration is the replacement of baby teeth with adult teeth. This is because adult teeth are naturally less white than baby teeth, so the newer teeth can be more likely to have a yellowish appearance in contrast to the baby teeth. This is actually why baby teeth are sometimes called “milk teeth,” because of the milky white coloration.
Other common causes of tooth discoloration are:
- Improper hygiene and brushing
- Staining from certain foods and drinks
- Medications and supplements, particularly those rich in iron
- Tooth decay or cavities, especially if the discoloration is dark and limited to one area
- Tooth injury or trauma, which can cause a noticeable gray discoloration
- Underlying illness or fever
Methods and steps for removal and/or prevention of discoloration can often depend on the underlying cause.
How to Remove and Prevent Tooth Stains
Despite the wide range of potential causes, there are still some common steps that anyone can take to promote healthy teeth and reduce discoloration. One of the most important things any parent can do for their child is to teach them to practice good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing is a great way to improve the health and appearance of both baby and adult teeth.
Another key step is limiting sugar intake, particularly sugary drinks. Substitute juice, soft drinks, and sports drinks with water whenever possible. Colas and other dark sodas in particular can not only weaken enamel due to the acid and sugar content, but the dyes in them can also contribute to staining and discoloration.
One more prevention step involves taking measures to prevent the spread of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and/or staining. This means discouraging the sharing of food, beverages, and utensils between family members or friends.
When to See a Pediatric Dentist
You can discuss your child’s oral and dental health with your pediatrician. Depending on the situation, he or she may recommend seeing a pediatric dentist for further examination.
If there is dental trauma, serious discoloration, pain, visible deformity, or clear signs of decay, you should see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible for an examination and treatment.
In addition to any dental treatment required for tooth decay or dental trauma, there are additional steps that can approve the appearance of teeth and address discoloration. At AC Pediatric Dentistry, we offer a wide range of cosmetic tooth brightening methods that can accommodate a variety of needs and budgets.
For example, we can perform whitening to reduce discoloration and staining or to achieve whiter teeth. Zoom whitening and laser whitening are some of the advanced methods we can use to treat stained teeth.
In other situations, cosmetic bonding uses a composite resin to address stained, cracked, or chipped teeth. This is why this procedure is used for both aesthetic and structural purposes.
The first part of addressing any tooth discoloration for your child will be a careful and thorough dental examination to ensure there are not any indications of underlying dental disease. Once oral and dental health is established, we can create a plan to treat your child’s tooth discoloration from a cosmetic standpoint.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!