Green Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

green teeth

Have you ever noticed how someone else’s or your teeth have turned green? If so, you may be curious why it happens and how to get rid of it.

Green teeth are not only unattractive, but they are also a sign of poor oral hygiene.

This article will explain green teeth and discuss their causes, treatments, and ways to avoid them in the future.

What are green teeth?

Green teeth are a type of tooth discoloration that can damage the dentin or enamel on the outside of your teeth. It may affect one or more teeth and range in color from light to dark green.

This can occur in both primary (baby) teeth and secondary (permanent) teeth.

What are the symptoms of green teeth?

The main symptom of green teeth is a green appearance on your teeth. This can affect your self-esteem and confidence, as well as make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. You may also experience other symptoms depending on the cause of your green teeth. These include:

  • Bad breath or halitosis.
  • Tooth decay or cavity.
  • Gum disease or gingivitis.
  • Sensitivity or pain in teeth.
  • Swelling or bleeding in the gums.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Jaundice, which causes the skin and eyes to yellow.
  • Fatigue or weakness.

Cause of green tooth

Depending on the cause, it can affect both permanent teeth and baby teeth. The two primary categories of green teeth are intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic staining:

This type of staining affects the inner structure of the tooth. It can be caused by:

1. Jaundice.

In newborns, high levels of bilirubin in the blood can cause their teeth to appear greenish-yellow. This usually fades as the baby gets older.

2. Rh incompatibility (Rh disease).

This is a condition where the mother’s blood type is different from the baby’s blood type. If the mother has Rh-negative blood and the baby has Rh-positive blood then the mother’s immune system may produce antibodies that attack the baby’s red blood cells. This can cause hemolytic anemia (low number of red blood cells) and high levels of bilirubin in the baby’s blood which lead to green teeth.

3. ABO incompatibility.

This is a similar condition to Rh incompatibility, but it involves a different blood group system. If the mother’s blood is type O and the baby’s blood is type A, B, or AB then the mother’s immune system produces antibodies that attack the baby’s red blood cells. Resulting in hemolytic anemia and high levels of bilirubin in the baby’s blood leading to a green tooth.

4. Sepsis.

This is a life-threatening condition where the body has an extreme response to infection, causing inflammation and organ damage. Sepsis can affect the growth of teeth and cause them to turn green.

Extrinsic staining:

This type of staining affects the surface of the tooth enamel. It can be caused by:

1. Poor oral hygiene.

When plaque and bacteria build up on teeth, they can create a greenish film or stain.

2. Certain foods and drinks.

Foods like spinach, broccoli, and green tea, as well as some sports drinks and energy drinks, can leave green stains on teeth.

3. Tobacco.

Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can stain teeth yellow or green.

4. Medications.

Certain medications, such as iron supplements, antibiotics, and antihistamines, can cause green discoloration of teeth.

Also Read: Unlocking Youthful Radiance: A Comprehensive Guide to Preventing and Treating Eyelid Wrinkles.

Green tooth treatment

Let’s discuss the treatment options so everyone can understand them easily.

The ideal treatment for green teeth depends on the underlying cause, but here are some general options your dentist might suggest:

For extrinsic stains (surface stains):

  1. Professional cleaning: This is usually the first step, and involves scraping away plaque and tartar using specialized tools. In most cases, this alone can remove mild green stains.
  2. Teeth whitening: If the stain persists, your dentist might recommend professional whitening treatments like in-office bleaching or custom-made whitening trays for home use. These work by breaking down and bleaching pigmented molecules causing the discoloration.
  3. Abrasive toothpaste: Using a whitening toothpaste with mild abrasives can help buff away surface stains, but choose one with dentist approval to avoid harming enamel.
  4. Micromanaging Diet & Habits: Reducing your intake of green-staining foods and drinks, improving oral hygiene, and quitting smoking can prevent future staining.

For intrinsic stains (deeper stains):

  1. Crown or veneer placement: If the greening is severe or affects the tooth’s structure, your dentist might recommend covering the tooth with a crown or veneer. These are artificial caps that restore the tooth’s appearance and color.
  2. Internal bleaching: For deeply ingrained stains within the tooth, internal bleaching with a peroxide gel placed inside the tooth might be necessary. This is usually done in several sessions.
  3. Laser treatment: Some dentists use lasers to remove stains, particularly those caused by certain medications. However, this is a newer technique and its effectiveness may vary.
  4. Composite Bonding: This involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the tooth to mask the green color. It’s less durable than veneers but can be a more affordable option.

Green teeth in infants:

If your baby has green teeth due to jaundice, the discoloration usually fades on its own as their bilirubin levels decrease. Consult your pediatrician if you’re concerned.

Remember, it’s crucial to consult your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment of your green teeth. They can assess the cause, and severity, and recommend the most appropriate and effective solution for your specific case.

green teeth

How to prevent green teeth?

The best way to prevent green teeth is to maintain good oral hygiene and avoid or limit factors that can stain your teeth.

Some preventive measures include:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day.
  • To get food and plaque out from between your teeth, floss at least once a day.
  • After consuming anything that can discolor your teeth, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.
  • Limit or avoid foods and drinks like coffee, tea, wine, berries, and soy sauce that can discolor your teeth.
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products.
  • Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and flush toxins from your body.
  • Avoid excessive fluoride intake, especially during childhood when teeth are developing. You can check the fluoride level of your water supply or use fluoride-free toothpaste if necessary.
  • Get medical help if you have any symptoms of jaundice, sepsis, hemolytic anemia, or other conditions that can affect the color of your teeth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 90% of Americans age 20 or older have cavities in their permanent teeth. Cavities can cause tooth decay and discoloration. Therefore, it is important to take care of your teeth and gums and seek professional help if you notice any signs of green teeth.

The Bottom line

Green teeth are a type of tooth discoloration that can affect both primary and secondary teeth. They are usually caused by external factors such as chromogenic bacteria, dark-colored foods and beverages, tobacco use, poor dental hygiene, and high fluoride ingestion.

They may also be caused by intrinsic factors, including medications, sepsis, hemolytic anemia, infantile jaundice, persistent jaundice, Rh incompatibility, and neonatal jaundice.

You can treat green teeth by maintaining good oral hygiene and having stains removed by the dentist. To prevent additional stains you should make changes to your food and lifestyle choices.

Maintaining good dental hygiene and reducing or avoiding factors that can discolor your teeth will help you avoid developing green teeth. Follow your dentist’s instructions on how to care for your teeth by scheduling regular checkups and cleanings.

Green teeth aren’t just unattractive, they may also be a sign of poor oral hygiene or an underlying medical condition. So, it is important to take good care of your teeth and gums and seek professional help if you experience symptoms of green teeth.

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