Parents of toddlers typically have many concerns, such as wondering when the little one will start talking and beginning potty training. Some look forward to baby teeth, because it means the toddler can start eating regular food (which may mean less work for the parents). Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are usually ivory or off-white, but many modern toddlers have discolored teeth.
Discolored toddler teeth come in a wide variety of shades and textures. According to Babycenter.com, some toddlers have yellow or orange-colored teeth, while others show dark brown stains. Many parents notice spots on their toddlers’ teeth, such as white spots or dark spots.
There are dozens of reasons why toddlers may have stained teeth. One of the most common reasons is inadequate brushing that leaves bacteria and plaque formation on the teeth. Some medications, such as supplemental vitamins containing high amounts of iron, can cause dark teeth stains, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pregnant mothers who took the antibiotic tetracycline (including oxytetracyclin, minocycline and doxycycline) may have toddlers with discolored teeth. Many types of toothpastes have too much fluoride for toddlers, and they leave white spots on teeth. Some toddlers have genetic enamel formation issues that cause discolored teeth, while others have injured the root of their teeth from hard falls.
Discolored toddler teeth may be the symptom of an illness. Some newborns that had jaundice will have spotted teeth. Some toddler teeth are discolored from high recurring fevers or infections. Other conditions, such as some types of heart disease or hepatitis, will result in discolored teeth.
Usually you can remove a stain resulting from plaque buildup and improper brushing; use an adult toothpaste or brush with baking soda and water. Some dentists will do professional scrubbing on toddler teeth, while others will not. If the stains are caused by a fall or root injury, the discoloration comes from inside the tooth and cannot be removed.
Avoid discolored toddler teeth by preventing it from occurring. Start brushing toddlers’ teeth twice a day with baby toothpaste and a baby toothbrush as soon as the first tooth appears. Avoid giving toddlers sugary drinks, such as concentrated fruit juices and flavored milk. Don’t give toddlers drinks, other than water or plain milk, after their teeth are brushed in the evening, and never add sugar to their food or drinks.