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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Brown/Black Teeth Stain

09/01/2010

Question:

My three year old daughter has these dark brown/black line stains near the upper and lower of her front teeth (right next to the gum line and between the teeth). We took her to a pediatric dentist for cleaning but the stain came back a week later. She has a healthy diet consists of wholesome fruits and vegetables and we brush her teeth twice a day.

We are on well water, our iron content is fine; but PH is slightly elevated; we do have sufficient fluoride (natural) in the water. She does take multi-vitamin every day (the gummy bear kind). Our doctor is unable to tell us what is causing it and I would really love a second opinion.

From the research I have done, I read this could be caused by healthy bacteria in saliva? Will the stain likely continue with her adult teeth? We literally have to clean the stain off using dental picks and baking soda every two weeks but it just keep coming back. Both my wife and I have light brown stains on the inside bottom of our teeth which it think is (normal wear /tear) but do not have stains as much like hers. We would really appreciate any advice/help. Thank you!

Answer:

Great question. Much of what you have addressed can be responsible for extrinsic staining - iron, fluoride, vitamin differences. I have also had experience with patients who just have a different group of bacteria in their mouth. Some bacteria can have color-producing pigments.

I would caution you in aggressive use of baking soda as the enamel of baby teeth are thinner than adult teeth and can be abraided away, particularly if someone else is doing the brushing.
 
I would also consider having your well water tested for mineral content, as what you might be seeing is in fact 'excess' mineral content precipitating/dissolving out of the fluid around teeth and /or saliva. Hope this helps!

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Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Professor
Director, Residency Program, Division of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati