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A child’s first tooth erupts around the age of six months. Typically, baby teeth are an ivory or off-white color, but some teeth may have a colored tint. Why is this? There are a few different causes of discoloration in baby teeth.

1. Weak enamel

Inadequate enamel formation is a genetic issue. The enamel layer isn’t thick enough to hide the darker dentin beneath the surface of the tooth.

2. Jaundice

Babies who develop jaundice after birth will sometimes teeth green-tinted chompers.

3. Medication

Infant medications that contain iron (eg, vitamin supplements) have been known to stain teeth a darker color. Likewise, taking the antibiotic tetracycline while pregnant could transfer tooth discoloration to your baby.

4. Fluoride

While fluoride consumption is an important part of a child’s development, too much fluoride can result in white streaks across the teeth (a condition known as enamel fluorosis). Fluorosis is non-deadly, and is often only detectable by dental professionals.

5. Tooth or gum trauma

Injury to the teeth or gums causes discoloration that ranges from pink to gray tints. Teeth may also appear darker because the body will build up the dark dentin to protect a hurt tooth.

6. Illness

Infections in infants often lead to discolored baby teeth. Medical issues such as infant hepatitis and heart disease have also been linked to tooth discoloration.

For further information on baby teeth and discoloration, call Dr. Michael O'Neill at 419.605.9818. Even if your baby’s teeth are pearly, it’s important to schedule regular dental checkups with your family dentist. Come visit Wildwood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Toledo, Ohio and receive an assessment of your baby’s oral health.