Tooth discoloration can be classified as extrinsic or intrinsic.  Intrinsic or internal discoloration can be sub-categorized into acute internal discoloration and enamel discoloration. Food, medications or fluids may cause extrinsic discoloration. There can be many causes of stained teeth in children.

Causes of Stained Teeth in Children

  • Organic compound, found in foods and drinks, get incorporated, into the tooth film, causing direct external discoloration. A coffee or tea stain is an example of direct staining.
  • Indirect external discoloration can be caused due to cationic antiseptics like chlorhexidine and metal salts like iron.
  • Metallic indirect discoloration may be due to metallic salts like iron supplements.

The factors responsible for causing intrinsic staining of teeth include:

  • Systemic syndromes, metabolic disorders, tetracycline stains, dentin defects, fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia and trauma.

The following is the list of various factors causing dental stains:

  • Alkaptonuria condition can cause brown staining in teeth.
  • A brownish-red discoloration may be caused by congenital erythropoietic porphyria.
  • A yellow-green staining may be caused by congenital hyperbilirubinemia, because of high biliverdin levels in blood.
  • Enamel hypoplasia is often caused due to systemic syndromes.
  • The condition dentinogenesis imperfecta II affects both primary as well as permanent teeth. When they are trans-illuminated, they appear opalescent and consist of a bluish or brownish color.
  • The primary teeth and permanent teeth in dentinal dysplasia type 1 may consist of an amber translucency.
  • The enamel and dentin will be stained a gray-brown color in tetracycline staining.
  • The dental discoloration in fluorosis, which is caused due to excessive intake of fluoride, varies from brown-black to milky white appearance.
  • Trauma to the teeth causes tooth discoloration, because of capillary damage inside the tooth. This enables the hemosiderin, an iron-storage compound to enter the dentinal tubules. In traumatized deciduous teeth, the accumulation of these hemoglobin products may turn their color darker. Baby teeth stained gray-black will often require endodontic treatment.
  • Amelogenesis imperfecta can cause staining in teeth, where the color of the enamel can range from “snow-capped” to yellow-brown.