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Dental and Oral Health Center

Children and discolored teeth

06/08/2009

Question:

When my niece turned 10, I noticed that she developed yellow and brown spots on her white teeth. She had always had a bright white smile, so to see these specks concerned me. When she was 15, she went to a dentist, and he diagnosed her with a calcium deficiency. We(her mother and I) found this strange, since she drank large amounts of milk. He then suggested her mother did not drink an adequate amount of milk while she was pregnant with my niece. We highgly disagree with his opinion, my niece`s teeth were completely white until she was 10, I do not understand what could be the problem? What could possibly be the reason behind my niece`s discolored teeth?

Answer:

It's not possible to diagnose your niece's condition without a thorough examination and you are encouraged to have her seen by a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of oral health problems in children and will be able to help with this problem.

It is highly unlikely that the problem was caused by a "calcium deficiency" but the precise cause of enamel "hypoplasia" is often difficult to determine. It has been related to a number of factors including injury to primary (baby) teeth, serious illness with infection/fever in early childhood, excessive fluoride ingestion and heredity, among others.

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Response by:

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University