Black Stains in Primary Teeth
Black tooth stain is a characteristic extrinsic discoloration, which occurs along the third cervical line of the buccal and/or lingual surfaces of teeth, particularly in the primary dentition. However, the permanent teeth may be also concerned. They appear early on the tooth enamel, at the age of 2 or 3. Its negative effect on the dental aesthetic perception causes concerns in parents and can have significant effects on the personality and self-confidence of the child.
Factors That Cause Stained Teeth in Children
Tooth Decay: Poor brushing habits can contribute to a dingy smile. Early signs of dental decay involve the presence plaque formation and yellowing. If plaque isn’t removed every day, it hardens into a thick substance call tartar. Tartar is generally yellow or brown in color and can only be removed at your child’s dentist’s office.
Soda: If you allow your child to drink soda, tooth discoloration may result. Over time, the soda’s acids can erode the enamel, allowing the yellow dentin layer to show through. When the soda is dark colored, the staining can be even more evident.
Sugary Drinks: You may feel good about giving your child fruit juice as a source of hydration throughout the day. While this is certainly a better choice than soda, most dark fruit juices have strong pigments and loads of sugar that can contribute to a dingy smile
Medications: Certain medications or supplements can also cause tooth discoloration in children. Vitamin supplements or prescriptions containing iron can contribute to the formation of dark stains, as can certain antibiotics and antihistamines, which can cause gray or yellow stains to form. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers who take tetracycline, a type of antibiotic, increase their child’s chances of developing stained baby teeth.
Tooth Injury: When a tooth injury occurs, it is possible for the blood vessels deep within the tooth to break. If your child suffers a tooth injury, the affected tooth might be brown, black, yellow, gray, or brown in color. A clear indication of a tooth injury in children is having a tooth that is much darker in color when compared to the surrounding teeth. See a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Too Much Fluoride: When your child’s smile is plagued with brown spots or white streaking, this could be a sign of too much fluoride, a condition known as fluorosis.
Genetics: children born with weaker enamel have teeth that are more easily stained.
Tips for preventing tooth stains
Encourage good oral hygiene at home: Brushing and flossing every day is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth stains, and it can remove light tooth stains over time. Encourage your child to brush twice a day for at least two minutes each session and floss their teeth at least once a day. Getting your child in the habit of brushing and flossing at an early age makes it more likely for them to engage in this healthy practice throughout their lives.
You can also encourage children to brush their teeth shortly after eating, especially after they’ve eaten anything that high in sugar or has a lot of acidity. Brushing or rinsing their mouth with water after eating can help your child lower their risk of tooth decay and prevent enamel erosion.
Prioritize a healthy diet: Encourage your child to focus on eating vegetables and fruits that have a hard, crunchy texture. This includes carrots, apples, pears, and celery, which help to clean the surface of teeth while eating. Candy, juices, soda, and dried fruits should be consumed in moderation.
The black stain particularly poses an aesthetic problem. Daily Tooth brushing is not enough to remove this external stain. The professional cleaning is necessary to remove stains and resolve this aesthetic problem. Although a simple scaling and tooth brushing with pumice powder are usually sufficient, frequently black stain is recurrent.
Prepared by Dr Sawsan Nasreddine
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