child brushing his teeth

Infant and Toddler Dental Health: The Causes of Discolouration

Most parents take several steps to ensure they have pearly white teeth. They, however, do not think much of the staining of their children’s teeth. They assume this will pass when the kids learn to brush their teeth properly or when permanent dentition starts. Some form of discolouration is no doubt associated with improper cleaning of the teeth. You, however, cannot peg the stain on your children’s teeth on this without a review of your dentist in Townsville.

Teeth whitening procedures are the ideal solution for discolouration in some cases. But to get what will work best for your kids, the cause of the staining will have to be identified first. This also allows the treatment of underlying conditions that might be contributing to discolouration. Here are the common causes of tooth discolouration among pediatric patients.

Dental Fluorosis

Fluoride is essential for the growth of healthy and strong dental enamel. Some parents, however, make the mistake of using fluoride formulations aggressively or diluting liquid or powdered infant formula with water containing high fluoride concentrations. About 40% of kids have some level of fluorosis owing to the high intake of fluoride. This is evidenced by brown spots or white streaks on the teeth. These can be corrected by teeth whitening, but severe cases need the placement of dental veneers.


Tetracycline is a common antibiotic used to treat several infections. But it should not be taken by kids less than 12 years old or pregnant mothers in the second trimester. This is because it interferes with the mineral deposition on the teeth, causing yellow stains as a result. A high intake of iron and vitamin supplements could also cause staining in baby milk teeth. Both causes of dental staining can be treated with whitening or dental veneers, depending on their extent.

Tooth Decay

White spots on the teeth often indicate the initial stages of dental caries. The spots might look etched and dull, more so when compared to other sections of a tooth. This is because enamel in these sections is getting demineralised by acid and bacteria that ultimately cause a cavity. The management of these spots involves the treatment of dental caries before whitening the teeth.


Child showing his teeth

Some kids grind their teeth when asleep, a practice known as bruxism. This chips the enamel layer and over time, exposes the dentin that starts forming faster than usual to thicken the teeth and protect their inner layers. This results in the yellow discolouration of teeth. The treatment of bruxism involves the use of a customised mouth guard to protect the teeth from the habit’s effects. With time, and sometimes fluoride therapy, the enamel layer will regrow and remain white with optimal care.

With all these causes, you now appreciate that the management of tooth discolouration in kids is not as easy as using whitening formulas or home-based solutions. These are mostly ineffective and might even cause severe damage to children’s tender gums. Getting a pediatric dentist to evaluate the cause of discolouration in your kids and recommend the ideal treatment is not only effective and safe but also saves you money.

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