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Dental - teeth discoloration

What could be the cause of yellowish/brownish teeth? Is this from food/juice staining or possibly from reflux? We cut down from two doses of Prevacid to one last year.

It is common for young children to have various staining of the primary, or baby, teeth. Sometimes the stains can be green, brown, yellow, etc. Stains can be either "external" or "internal" in their presentation. The internal stains are under the surface of the enamel. They can not be simply brushed away. They arise during the formative moments of the tooth itself. Usually a systemic insult in the way of a severe illness, fever, dehydration, etc. that occurs in the second or third trimester or shortly after birth. The internal stains can also be caused by hereditary factors or they can just occur for no reason at all.

The external stains can arise from food dyes,  chromogenic bacteria or plaque and calculus deposits. They can often be removed via professional dental cleaning.

If the brown/yellow areas are actual cavities, they will need to be restored. This can be a form of early childhood caries, due to bottle feedings at nighttime, high sugar or acid diet, or defective enamel surfaces that harbor plaque and debri because of the roughness and porosity present.

The pediatric dentist will be able to determine the actual state of the teeth when he or she does a formal intra oral examination. X-rays might be needed to further aid in the final diagnosis. If the cleaning does not remove the colors, then various things can be done to make things a bit better from an esthetic and functional standpoint.

RM 4-29-11



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