A smile of a child is a packaged sunshine and rainbows. It could brighten anyone’s day. But in case, your child is having tooth discolouration, along with affecting the beauty of his smile, it could also affect his self-confidence. So, here is everything you need to know about protecting your child’s smile and hold together his self-confidence.
What is tooth discolouration:
It is the change of colour or appearance of the primary teeth from “off-white” to from normal typical “off-white colour or ivory colour. Tooth discolouration could be either due to external factors (food, beverages or medication) or internal factors (due to child’s health conditions such as fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia).
Causes of tooth discolouration:
1. Poor brushing of teeth: Not brushing the teeth thoroughly leads to the deposition of food debris on the teeth which could attract bacteria. The plaque is formed when the bacteria attacks the food debris causing tooth discolouration.
2. Tooth decay: The bacterial action on the tooth leads to tooth decay-causing tooth discolouration.
3. Enamel hypoplasia: It is a genetic condition in which the enamel coating is either thinner than the normal or missing. The symptom of it is deformed enamel with white, yellow or brown discolouration on the affected teeth.
4. Fluorosis: It is caused due to the excessive amount of fluoride in the child’s mouth. It could be either due to consuming water with the excessive amount of fluoride in it or usage of toothpaste with an immoderate amount of fluoride.
5. Injury: The injury occurred to the baby’s teeth or gums even before the teeth emerges out could lead to tooth discolouration in the kids. During the injury, the blood vessels inside the pulp chamber might break and the blood is absorbed by the dental tubule which passes to enamel. The enamel is semi-transparent and it absorbs the blood and is reflected as tooth discolouration.
6. Chronic illness: High fever, newborn hepatitis or some heart diseases could cause tooth discolouration.
7. Jaundice: Newborn jaundice could lead to teeth discolouration with the greenish tinge.
8. Medicines: Medicines that contain tetracycline (if consumed during pregnancy) or iron content could lead to tooth discolouration.
Symptoms of discolouration:
- Initial stage: Loss of shine of the tooth, sticky and greasy looking teeth.
- Stains on teeth which might be off-white, yellow, grey or brown.
- Eroded enamel
- Discolouration could be even or mottled or could be splotches or streaks.
Treatment of discolouration:
- Brushing with the adult toothbrush and adult toothpaste: Children’s toothbrush and toothpaste has less scrubbing power than the adult’s brush and paste. Hence, brushing with adult brush and paste could treat discolouration if it is caused by external factors. However, it is advised to brush it gently as the kids’ gum and enamel are sensitive.
- A bit of baking soda and water to brush the teeth could remove the stains.
- Brushing thoroughly could restrict the teeth discolouration due to iron supplement to reach the root of the teeth.
- Bleaching techniques could be used by the pediatric dentist to remove the stubborn stains. It could be In-office bleaching, overnight vital bleaching or the whitening strips treatment.
- Pumice treatment: Pumice treatment could be offered if the tooth discolouration is due to health conditions like fluorosis. This treatment could be used to remove the stain and the bacteria from the teeth of the toddler.
Prevention of discolouration:
- These preventive measures could help your toddler in preventing the tooth discolouration due to external factors:
- Cleaning the baby’s teeth: Clean wipe the baby’s tooth with soft and clean cloth at least once in a day, preferably just before your child goes to sleep at night. You can start this cleaning procedure as soon as your baby gets his first teeth.
- No milk bottle while going to bed: Never allow your child to keep milk bottle in his mouth and sleep. The sugary pool around the tooth attracts bacteria and produces acid which could lead to tooth decay.
- Healthy food: Feeding healthy food which is low on sugar prevents tooth decay as well as tooth discolouration.
- Low fluoride toothpaste: Use of toothpaste with low fluoride could save you from tooth discolouration.