Should you worry about grey spots on your child’s teeth?

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We all worry about our children for many reasons. Their dental health is important and we know that good habits start early. Even with good brushing and flossing, you may notice some discoloration on your children’s teeth and it is actually very common. Here is what you need to know.

Reasons your child’s teeth may be discolored

  1. Too much iron. Iron-rich water or iron supplements (including fortified rice cereals) can cause a gray or black stain to appear on your child’s teeth. This staining is not harmful to teeth, and is easily brushed away by a parent’s help during teeth brushing time, or by Dr. Petellin at your child’s next visit.
  2. Trauma. If a tooth is entirely dark or gray, it may be due to an injury. When tooth trauma happens, there may be bleeding inside the tooth that causes intrinsic staining. This cannot be removed by brushing. You will want to monitor any changes in the tooth or gums. In any event of an injury involving teeth, it is best to have your dentist take a look.
  3. Fluorosis. Faint white streaks or spots can be an indication of fluorosis, a condition caused by too much fluoride. Fluorosis is typically a cosmetic concern only, though you’ll want to have your dentist confirm that this is what you’re seeing. You’ll also want to make sure, if you’re using fluoride supplements, that you’re giving the proper dose. Ask Dr. Petellin or your pediatrician about their recommendation.
  4. Inadequate brushing. You’re not alone if your family struggles with this twice daily ritual. While it’s a great idea to foster independence in daily hygiene habits, your little one might need your help to brush each tooth adequately, and for long enough. Be sure to use the recommended amount of toothpaste per the age of your child. Here are some tips for proper teeth brushing and some fun dental apps that can make the process more fun.
  5. Tooth decay. If you see white, chalky spots on your child’s teeth, this may be an indication that tooth decay has begun. If left untreated, these spots will turn yellow or brown. Never ignore signs of tooth decay.

When to see Dr. Petellin

If you can’t brush away a stain, it is best to make a call to our office. Dr. Petellin may want to take a look in person, and will let you know whether you should come in earlier than your next scheduled visit.