The appearance of brown teeth in your toddler can be unsettling, especially if the discoloration is accompanied by additional symptoms such as pain, fussiness or crying. Brown teeth can be a sign of mild to severe tooth problems. Some tooth discoloration requires the care of a dentist.
Your toddler can develop brown teeth if food debris stains the teeth due to a buildup of food or plaque caused by poor dental hygiene. Brown-stained teeth can also be due to tooth decay caused by bacteria or sugars. Dark stains can also be triggered by a multivitamin containing iron. Fluorosis, a condition caused by too much consumption of fluoride through supplements or water, can also cause the enamel of your toddler’s teeth to turn brown. Some medications can also discolor the teeth.
Remove brown stains by brushing your toddler’s teeth at least two times a day. Remove stubborn stains with a tiny amount of adult toothpaste or water and baking soda. Do not give your toddler extra fluoride supplements unless your dentist specifically recommends them. Tooth decay and severe staining needs to be treated by a dentist who can repair the teeth or professionally clean them.
Avoid future occurrences of brown teeth by brushing your toddler’s teeth vigilantly, especially if he is prone to tooth discoloration. Use a toothpaste designed for toddlers that does not have fluoride in it, especially if your child does not understand how to spit the toothpaste out after brushing. After your toddler comprehends how to brush properly, use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste when brushing.
The American Dental Association advises you to brush your child’s teeth until she is approximately 6 years old. Although your toddler can brush her teeth after you thoroughly brush them to learn the motions and technique, an adult can better remove food, plaque and stains. Do not ever put your toddler to bed with a bottle or sippy cup -- she should always finish her drink before going to sleep.