What to do about my child’s discoloured baby teeth? Is it normal?
Your child’s baby teeth are crucial, even if they are only temporary, and they are still prone to cavities. To chew food, speak, and smile attractively, children require strong, healthy teeth. Their baby teeth also aid in the proper eruption of their adult teeth. It’s critical to begin basic oral hygiene with infants in order to protect their teeth for many years to come.
Baby Tooth Decay
Tooth decay can be caused by a variety of circumstances. One common cause is the baby’s teeth being exposed to sugary drinks on a regular basis for an extended period of time.
Sugars from foods and drinks are consumed by bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria create acid, which corrodes the tooth’s outer surface (the enamel). Saliva aids in the repair of this damage, but if there is more damage than can be repaired over time, a cavity or ‘hole’ in the tooth develops.
Secondly, when a baby is put to bed with a bottle or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby, tooth decay can occur.
Lastly, cavity-causing germs can be transferred from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant, resulting in tooth decay. These bacteria are transferred from person to person via saliva. The bacteria can be transferred to the newborn when the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth or cleans a pacifier in her mouth.
Tooth Decay Process
The term ‘caries’ refers to the process of tooth decay. Teeth can develop white chalky patches in the early stages. Teeth with brown or black spots are in the later stages. Most of the time, baby tooth decay in front teeth happens.
‘Nursing bottle caries’ and ‘baby bottle decay’ are two more terms for this ailment. These terms are used because data suggests that settling babies and infants to sleep with a bottle of milk or formula can induce early childhood caries (or other sweet drinks).
As the baby sleeps, milk can collect in the mouth, and the lactose sugar in milk feeds the bacteria that cause decay. Because saliva flow is low while sleeping, it does not protect the body from injury.
What Does Tooth Decay Look Like?
1. White spots on teeth
The first sign of dental decay is white patches on the teeth. They have a chalky, white appearance and are situated around the gum line, where plaque accumulates. If brushed and maintained clean, these marks can be reversed.
The presence of early cavities is not the only source of white patches. A dentist can distinguish between early decay and white spots that aren’t related to health issues, such as those caused by too much fluoride.
2. Brown spots on baby teeth
If the teeth are not brushed and taken care of, the white spots on the teeth will turn brown. This is a case of dental decay that has progressed. Any dark spot on your teeth is abnormal and should be examined by a dentist. It does not imply that the brown area isn’t a cavity just because it doesn’t cause pain.
What Is a Cavity?
The most frequent type of cavities begins in the back teeth’s grooves, which cannot be thoroughly cleaned by brushing but are where food tends to stick. Cavities can also begin on smooth, readily brushed surfaces.
When it comes to cavities, the frequency of sugary food consumption is more essential than quantity. It is critical to alter one’s diet in order to reduce the amount of sugar consumed.
What Is a Plaque?
Plaque contains microorganisms that cause cavities. It’s a sticky, silky yellow-white substance. It can be found on the teeth and gums. It promotes gum irritation and tooth decay.
Plaque is removed by brushing and flossing on a daily basis, which helps to keep teeth and gums healthy.
The gums grow red, mushy, and swollen if plaque is not eliminated from the teeth on a daily basis, and they bleed easily during tooth brushing.
Baby teeth discoloured and gray
Baby Teeth Is Discoloured and Look Gray – Is It Normal?
A fall or an accident that causes trauma to the tooth may cause dark discolouration in infant teeth. The blood vessels that link to the tooth can be damaged, causing the tooth to turn a dark colour like black, grey, brown, or purple.
The tooth’s colour usually changes a few weeks after the incident, which is why many parents are concerned when they first detect discolouration.
A discoloured baby tooth will usually improve on its own over time. As long as the tooth does not become infected, it will fall out as the child grows older and be replaced by a healthy adult tooth.
However, in certain situations, the pulp inside the tooth dies as a result of the trauma, resulting in an abscessed tooth. Because root canals are not suggested for baby teeth in this case, the infected tooth will most likely need to be pulled.
When to call the dentist
If your child’s tooth is gray or discoloured, keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as fever, swelling in the cheeks and gums, and chronic pain. If you feel the tooth is infected, treat it as a dental emergency and seek treatment as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t see any signs of illness, you should schedule an appointment with your family dentist to have the discoloured tooth examined. They’ll be able to analyse the damage and determine whether it has to be removed this way.
Debunking: Baby Tooth Decay Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can cause cavities in newborns and babies, according to a popular belief held by some new parents. Breast milk contains sugar, which can cause cavities in newborns and infants. This isn’t the case at all. Children who were exclusively breastfed were found to have robust teeth and no enamel degradation in various studies.
A study by Dr. Pamela R. Erickson, for example, immersed teeth in water, breast milk, a breast milk-sugar solution, and other liquids. After that, the decay rates of these teeth were compared.
In this study, breast milk was found to be almost comparable to water and had no effect on tooth decay. Breast milk, in fact, was discovered to make teeth healthier in a follow-up study! Besides breast milk, almost all cavities in newborns are caused by additional meals, sweets, and other things.
Antibodies found in breast milk help to prevent tooth decay
Breast milk aids in the battle against germs in the mouth, which is why it can help prevent tooth decay. Under normal circumstances, the natural antibacterial activity of antibodies was enough to keep tooth decay at bay among children with good teeth, according to a study by Irish dentist Harry Torney.
It’s a potential for decay to take root in children’s teeth if they had genetic abnormalities or had soft enamel. It’s likely that some breastfed youngsters will acquire cavities as a result of this. This can be avoided by wiping off the gums and teeth after each meal and brushing the teeth as soon as they erupt with baby toothpaste and a baby toothbrush.
Yes, Baby Teeth Fall Out. But They’re Still Important—Here’s How To Help Your Kids Look After Them
Best Baby Toothbrush in Singapore To Help Your Little One
Teething Symptoms And What To Do About Them
Baby Tooth Decay Treatment
Early introduction of a healthy diet and proper cleaning habits can help avoid tooth decay in young children.
To avoid tooth decay, follow these tips:
- Remove your baby from the breast or bottle once they’ve completed eating.
- The baby should not be put to bed with a bottle.
- Sweet drinks should never be put in a baby’s bottle.
Begin teaching your child to drink from a feeding cup when he or she is around six months old. By the age of a year, kids should only be drinking from a cup.
Water is the primary beverage for children over the age of twelve months. Plain full-fat milk is another healthy beverage option.
From the age of two, children can drink low-fat milk. Because of its high sugar content and acidity, fruit juice is neither essential nor recommended for children.
Children as young as six months old can begin to eat solid foods. Provide a diverse selection of healthful foods with a diversity of textures and flavours.
Clean your baby’s teeth regularly
Brushing or cleaning your child’s teeth can help to eradicate microorganisms that cause decay.
- As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, begin brushing his or her teeth. Apply water on a moist towel or a little children’s toothbrush.
- Use a little pea-sized amount of children’s low-fluoride toothpaste on a small, soft toothbrush from the age of 18 months to six years.
- Children as young as six years old can use a pea-sized amount of regular fluoride toothpaste.
- Ask your dentist about the best toothpaste for your child if you live in a location where fluoride isn’t present in the drinking water.
- Brush your teeth and gumline twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime.
Set an appointment with the dentist
By the age of two, it is suggested that children get their teeth checked. A dentist or other dental expert, as well as a health professional such as a maternal and child health nurse or doctor, can perform this procedure.
Ensure that older children continue to have regular checkups. Inquire with your dentist about how often your child should receive a dental examination.
Remember, good infant teeth lead to healthy adult teeth.
This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.