Parents often ask about discolorations on their children’s teeth, and there are a variety of answers. Different colors can represent different causes – but this is usually determined during an exam and just talking about nutrition and hygiene habits with the child and her parents.
Dark Stains – Sometimes causes by high iron levels in vitamins, this type of stain usually doesn’t have any long-term affect on the health of a child’s teeth. Good brushing habits or perhaps changing to a vitamin with lower iron levels will eliminate the problem.
Berry and Tomato Stains – The acidic nature of some fruits, tomato sauce and similar foods can cause stains, so it is important to brush – or at least rinse with water – as soon as possible after ingesting these foods. A simple and healthy trick to eliminate some stains is to add a salad before eating sauces, soups or pizza can help. Lettuce leaves a protective film on the teeth so the stains don’t stick!
Yellow or Black Stains – Yellow or black discoloration can come from a variety of factors from excess fluoride, tooth decay, medicines, trauma or food and drink.
Though good hygiene is always our best initial defense against surface stains, it is important to discuss any type of teeth whitening with your child’s dentist BEFORE trying at home. Not only do young patients usually have a mix of primary and permanent teeth, but the ingredients in some whitening products can cause gum irritation.