Grey Teeth and Tooth Discolouration

Normal primary teeth are white and generally brighter than permanent teeth.

Causes for tooth discolouration

  • A trauma to a tooth, following either a fall or a blow, can make the tooth pink or even grey. Other than the colour change, this condition is not usually harmful for the tooth. Treatments should only be needed if the tooth became infected or symptomatic.
  • An excessive ingestion of fluoride during the formation of the teeth can create dark stains on them, which are called dental fluorosis.
  • Taking the antibiotic tetracycline during the formation of the teeth can make them greyish. If a pregnant woman takes tetracycline, it can later change the baby's teeth colour to grey.
  • Dark stains on teeth can be cavities. If a cavity is suspected, it is important to consult a dentist quickly.
  • Baby bottle tooth decay presents itself as brownish stains on the tip of the front teeth. This condition follows the ingestion of milk, juice, or sweetened liquids through the bottle during the night while the baby or the child is sleeping.
  • Sometimes a tooth has darker areas because the enamel has not formed completely. This situation is called hypocalcification.

In most cases, the colour change of the primary teeth does not affect the colour of the permanent teeth. The dentist can place white fillings on primary teeth to cover up the discolouration.

In rare cases, the change in colour of the primary teeth follows a systemic disease. If there is a drastic or generalized change in the colour of the teeth, it is recommended to consult a dentist or a doctor.

To prevent the discolouration of teeth

  • Start cleaning the teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth of the baby.
  • The antibiotic tetracycline should not be consumed during pregnancy, and should not be given to children under eight years old.
  • The ingestion of excessive fluoride should be avoided by first finding out if the city water is fluoridated. If the water does not contain any fluoride, giving fluoride supplements should be considered in order to protect the child's teeth from cavities. Most dental professionals agree on the beneficial effects of fluoride. If the city water is already fluoridated, avoid giving fluoride supplements to children.

Children

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References

Pediatric Dentistry Blog (cyberdentist.blogspot.com).
Last update: June 20th 2008.