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My child’s baby teeth seem discolored. Should I be worried?


Many of us know the common causes of discolored teeth in adults, but children can also end up with yellow teeth. There are many potential causes of yellow teeth in children, and they can be either intrinsic (internal) or extrinsic (external). If your child has yellow teeth, you might be interested in figuring out why and what can be done about it.

Common causes of tooth discoloration in toddlers

If you notice, that your child’s teeth aren’t as pearly white as they used to be, there could be a problem. Here are common causes of tooth discoloration in toddlers:


Extrinsic Discoloration

Food and drink – plenty of foods can cause staining of the outer layer of the teeth, which are incorporated into the tooth pellicle (tooth film). For adults, this normally takes the form of coffee stains. For children, it could be any number of the things they consume. Combined with the bad brushing habits common in small children, and you can end up with this problem before you know it.

You can usually remove these stains by brushing the teeth with a little bit of adult toothpaste (which contains more scrubbing power than children’s) or a little bit of baking soda and water.

If this doesn’t work, your dentist can remove the stains with a professional scrubbing. These stains are not necessarily an indication of tooth decay, but letting plaque accumulate on the teeth can cause gum disease (even in youngsters!) and it’s not a good habit to get into.


Intrinsic Discoloration

Intrinsic stains occur beneath the surface of the tooth and occur when stain-causing particles are able to work their way through the outer layer of your tooth and accumulate within the enamel. Intrinsic tooth stains are more difficult to remove then extrinsic stains, but they can be treated. Intrinsic stains typically require either in-office whitening solutions provided by your dentist or by using some at home whitening products such as tray based products or whitening strips.


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