[Q&A] Black Stain on the teeth

Question: My kid is 2 years old. He teeth got a lot of black stain.
It is hard to brush it off, unless I use my finger to “scrape” the teeth, then only i can remove the black stain. But, after few days, the stain comes back again. (He doesn’t like to brush his teeth, it is hard for us to help him brush properly)

  1. Why his teeth like that? I don’t see other kids has the same problem. (even they didn’t brush properly)
  2. What should I do? bring him to see the dentist? How to get rid off the black stains, whitening? but, I’m sure he won’t open his mouth. Any specified dentist for 2 years old kid?
  3. He doesn’t like to open his mouth for me to brush his teeth. If I let the black stain there, what will happen to his teeth? I’m very worried. I scared it’ll become tooth decay. Will it cause his mouth smelly too? (Diana)

Answer: Dear Diana, Staining of teeth occur for a variety of reasons. Most often staining is extrinsic (external) in nature and typically due to food colour and is easily removed with brushing. The dark stains you described for your child is most likely due to Chromogenic staining. This condition is due to colonisation by a group of black or brown bacteria species that have preference for teeth particularly along gum margins. The condition is harmless but can be rather unaesthetic as it gives the appearance of ‘dirty’ teeth. Surprisingly, black chromogenic staining occurs in clean mouths. Other forms chromogenic staining by coloured bacteria include yellow or green types found in those with poor oral hygiene. Most children with black chromogenic staining improve over time as oral balance becomes established. Invariably, professional cleaning may be necessary when the staining becomes adherent or persistent. Your child can be introduced to your family dentist for introductory dental care, and when your child is able to cooperate for simple tooth polishing, then removal of the black staining can be effectively carried out. Often a few treatment sessions may be necessary as the chromogenic bacteria tends to recolonize after sometime.