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Why Does My Child Have Discoloured Teeth?

May 24, 2023
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The last thing you want marring your child’s beautiful smile is spots on their teeth or discoloured teeth. There are plenty of reasons why these things occur, and some of them may indicate deeper problems that warrant an urgent visit to the pediatric dentist. Some others may hint at a problem that can easily be resolved. Learn why your child has discoloured teeth and what it could mean.


Oral hygiene habits and diet

Poor dental hygiene leads to several oral health issues. These include tartar buildup, which appears as a brown discoloration on the teeth. Bacteria growth is the reason for this. Regular professional cleaning from your pediatric dentist can keep this away, but more important is daily dental hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing.

In very young children, tartar can also build up from poor nutrition. This especially happens when the baby’s last meal of the day has too much sugar, and their mouth is not cleaned before sleep time. Even a predominantly acidic diet can cause discoloration in the form of white spots on the teeth. Too much lemonade or sodas has this effect. Other diet-related discolorations can arise from coffee or tea, soy sauce, and pigmented foods.

Regular visits for cleanings and fillings and a stringent dental hygiene routine should address most of these problems.

Tooth injury or thin enamel

An injury can turn your child’s tooth grey, brown, or even black. This happens when the blood vessels in the tooth are damaged. If your child has sustained an injury recently and a tooth or a few teeth are beginning to get discoloured, do head to the pediatric dentist immediately. Sometimes the tooth may heal without help, but other times, they may need dental treatment. Wearing a mouth guard during sports or high-level activity is an excellent way to prevent this.

In some kids, the enamel of the tooth is very thin due to genetic factors. Thin enamel can result in yellow or dull teeth that seem to be discoloured. Weak enamel also heightens the risk of cavities developing in the teeth. Talk to your pediatric dentist and learn what you must do to address this.

Tooth decay

Tooth decay starts with white spots on the teeth. They can be seen along the gum line. When you spot these, get your child to the pediatric dentist immediately because the right treatment can resolve this issue at this stage. If left untreated, the tooth begins to decay, and the spots turn brownish and spread across the tooth. Regular cleanings and fillings sessions with your dentist can identify decay at its early stages and correct it too.

Medical condition or medication

Some supplements, especially iron supplements, often discolour teeth. Even some medications have the same effect. If your breastfeeding baby has discoloured teeth, check if any of the medications you take have tetracycline. Change the medication if possible.

Some medical conditions also cause teeth discoloration. For example, hyperbilirubinemia causes a yellowing discoloration of the teeth. A visit to the pediatric dentist can tell you if the discoloration should also be looked into from this perspective.


Generally, following a good oral hygiene routine and visiting the pediatric dentist for regular cleanings and fillings should take care of teeth discoloration and give your child a bright sunny smile. However, there are some causes that are not so easily sorted out. With these, you must follow your dentist’s advice diligently to ensure no long-term damage takes place.

Ready when you are

Lamine Diallo
Lamine Diallo
02:21 15 Jun 22
My family and I have been receiving care from Dr. Ashraf and his amazing team since we first moved to Waterloo in 2002. His assessment skills are spot on, he is gentle and is very skilled at working with anxious\nervous patients. My dental hygienist is Lin who is very knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. She is amazingly gentle yet very,very thorough when it comes to preventative dental care. She is didactic as well, taking the time to teach patients how to use certain equipment as well as addressing gingivitis in pro-active ways. We are in very capable hands.
Trisa Kapetaneas
Trisa Kapetaneas
18:12 01 Jun 22
I have been a patient here for over 2 years now and I've always enjoyed the experience. The staff are professional and have always made me feel comfortable. I recently had a cleaning done by Lynn for the first time and she was amazing! Will continue to visit for my checkups/cleanings.
Aamir Mirza
Aamir Mirza
14:54 03 May 22
Dr. Ashraf and his team is amazing. All work done under one umbrella for entire family. We all are very happy to be under the care for the last 20 plus years. Lin, dental hygienist is remarkable professional. She knows her job so well that I look forward to my cleaning every time I'm scheduled. Thank you Lin for your amazing work for my entire family!
Alena Delena
Alena Delena
14:50 02 May 22
My family loves Dr Ashraf. We've been through many dentists in many cities and he's by far our favourite one. He's always thorough and professional. His referrals are also of equal high caliber. I went to him for a root canal and a crown. I had many concerns and he addressed them all personally. He even went so far as to redo a root canal for me. Recommend.
Nicole Wood
Nicole Wood
15:31 28 Apr 22
I found Ashraf Dentistry a year ago and I absolutely love their dental clinic. Everyone is very kind and thorough. Lin is the best dental hygienist I've ever had! She takes the time to ensure I receive the care I need. Both dentists I've seen have also been very kind and wonderful at making me feel like my teeth are being taken care of. Highly recommend!
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