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Discoloration In Children's Teeth

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - December 30, 2022

"My child’s teeth look discolored!"

The other day, I looked at my 8-year-old son’s teeth (through the lens of his dad and not his dentist) and thought they looked discolored.  With the new year coming up, we all want a new pearly white smile for ourselves and our kids.  I get similar questions from parents in my office about the color of the child’s teeth so figured this would be a great blog topic!
Adult teeth are inherently more yellow in appearance than baby teeth.  When we have a mouth full of adult teeth, they typically appear bright, white and normal in color.  However, when a child has a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth, the neighboring comparison of a whiter baby tooth next to a yellower adult tooth makes their differences seem more drastic.  If this is the underlying issue, waiting for more adult teeth to erupt is the preferred remedy to the color concern.

Plaque buildup is another culprit when it comes to the topic of tooth discoloration.  When a parent asks about tooth discoloration BEFORE a cleaning, in most cases the assistant, hygienist or I am able to easily remove the buildup and get the patient’s smile looking great!  When this seems to be the area of concern, we have a long talk with the patient and parent about improving brushing and flossing.

The type of bacteria in our mouth can also result in tooth discoloration.  We all have loads of bacteria in our mouth.  Bacteria is not always bad.  Broadly speaking, we have three types of bacteria – healthy bacteria, bacteria that causes cavities and bacteria that causes gum disease.  A specific family of bacteria the belongs in the healthy category is called chromogenic bacteria.  Unfortunately, this type of bacteria produces the by-product of tooth discoloration.  This discoloration can usually be removed fairly easily by the team at Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry.  Research shows that patients who have a greater concentration of chromogenic bacteria in their mouth have a lower likelihood of developing cavities.  Effective brushing and flossing are the best ways to ward off this type of tooth discoloration.
Keep those smiles bright, white and healthy in the new year and beyond!

Dr. Nick