Brown Stains on Baby Teeth – Are They Cavities?

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Brown Stains on Baby Teeth Calgary Dentist Explains Potential Causes

Primary teeth are not immune to discoloration, a process of the white color of baby teeth changing into yellow, brown, or any other. Brown stains on baby teeth is not an arbitrary event and may indicate other underlying problems. Tartar buildup, dental cavities, poor nutrition, and excess fluoride are common causes of teeth discoloration.

At Inglewood Family Dental, our children’s dentists will treat babies’ and younger children’s teeth to find the brown spots and will ask the parent some questions to identify the cause. Our Calgary dentist offers various treatment options for our younger patients with brown stains on their teeth.

Causes of Brown Stains on Baby Teeth

Here are some causes of teeth discoloration in baby teeth:

Tartar Build-up

It’s a common problem in dentistry that affects children too. Poor oral hygiene will give a space for bacteria to grow from plaques on the teeth. These plaques usually have a brown color, and it’s a sign of tooth decay and cavities in children.

This problem may lead to dental cavities spreading and ending with dental carries, and possible damage to the permanent teeth underlying it.

Poor Nutrition

Baby bottle tooth decay is a common mistake when mothers involve many sugary liquids and juices in babies in early times, as sugars will allow a perfect medium for bacteria to grow and end with tooth decay and caries.

It’s recommended to teach babies how to drink from free-flow cups to cut feeding from bottles.

Excess Fluoride

The condition of fluorosis happens with the baby ingests much fluoride in the formula due to fluoridated water. The fluorosis may appear as streaks on teeth or a faint white line.

Antibiotic Ingestion

Tetracycline ingestion during pregnancy or breastfeeding is a possible cause of brown stains on baby teeth. It is important to avoid medications as much as possible during these periods of life. Many of the drugs can pass the placental barrier or get excreted in breast milk.


Excess intake of supplements and vitamins, especially iron-containing supplements, are linked with teeth discoloration.

Trauma and Weak Structure

Some traumatic events to the gum may change the color of your teeth. Dental trauma may cause bleeding inside a single tooth. A weak enamel, due to hereditary problems or other causes, is also susceptible to more injury and cavity formation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your Calgary dentist will consult with you and asses your babies’ teeth to find the brown stains or spots and check for infections and will ask the mother some questions to identify the cause from the history or medications intake or the other causes.

How to remove brown stains on baby teeth?

Treatment includes removing the stains very easily with the suitable bleaching technique, as well as removing the underlying cause such as:

  • Stopping the offensive medication
  • Proper cleaning gently with brushing and flossing or even gentle wiping
  • Balanced nutrition and avoiding sugary beverages
  • Avoiding trauma
  • Decreasing fluoride consumption

If you have any questions about how to alleviate brown stains on baby teeth, please contact us at (403) 265-5888. Please keep in mind that we follow the Alberta Dental Fee Guide, so there should be no out-of-pocket expenses for your child to see our Calgary dentist for a routine check-up.

About Author

Dr. Arash Ravanbakhsh is a skilled Calgary dentist passionate about oral health. Graduating from the University of Alberta, he brings advanced dental knowledge to Inglewood Family Dental. Dedicated to patient care, Dr. Arash also volunteers his time on dental missions, improving oral health globally.