What Causes Green Teeth?
Green staining of the teeth can occur in primary as well as secondary teeth. It may signal an underlying health condition and affect the way a person’s smile looks. Green staining of teeth can be inside out (intrinsic staining) or outside in (extrinsic staining).
Intrinsic staining is a rare type and takes place in the tooth’s dentin or the inner layer. It can happen due to a tooth’s development. The green color in this type could be due to a lack of nutrients in the diet of a person or by certain health conditions.
Extrinsic staining occurs in the enamel i.e. the outer layer of the tooth. It can occur due to bacterial build-up that is not removed even after frequent brushing.
There are certain foods and drinks that can discolor the enamel of the tooth, also, tobacco and certain medications.
Why Does Intrinsic Staining Of Teeth Occur?
There are numerous condition can cause the teeth to turn green:
Newborn jaundice is a very common condition caused due to excess bilirubin in the bloodstream.
Excess of bilirubin can affect the baby teeth and they can come in green.(1,2) The green color of the teeth remains until they fall out and new teeth grow. In this condition, the permanent teeth that come are not green.
Rh factor is a protein present in the red blood cells. Rh incompatibility occurs when an Rh-negative woman is pregnant with an Rh-positive baby.
In such a case, the mother’s body reacts with the baby’s blood, taking it as a foreign substance. The antibodies are created that attack the red blood cells of the baby.
This can lead to hyperbilirubinemia in newborns and can lead to green teeth.(3)
ABO incompatibility is similar to Rh incompatibility and occurs when the pregnant female has blood group O and the baby has type A or type B blood.
This condition can also lead to hyperbilirubinemia in newborns and lead to green discoloration of the teeth.
Sepsis is a reaction to an infection that can be life-threatening. It may slow down the release and flow of bile in the liver. It is a complication of sepsis and is known as cholestasis. It can hence be a cause of green primary teeth.
Hemolytic anemia occurs when the red blood cell destruction is faster than its production in the bone marrow. There are numerous causes to it, one being sickle cell anemia. There can be a build-up of bilirubin that can lead to green teeth.
Certain antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and tetracycline can lead to primary and secondary green teeth.
Why Does Extrinsic Staining of Teeth Occur?
Extrinsic staining of the teeth can make the teeth look gray, brown, yellow, orange, or green these stains can be due to:
- Food stains such as after eating blueberries
- Staining due to dark drinks that include coffee, tea, grape juice, soda, and red wine
- Staining due to tobacco
- Bacterial build-up in the tooth enamel. Chromogenic bacteria can cause green stains on the teeth.
How To Get Rid of Green Teeth?
The treatment for extrinsic and intrinsic teeth differs. It also varies according to the type of staining (intrinsic or extrinsic).
Intrinsic Staining Treatment
Intrinsic dental stains cannot be treated at home simply by brushing.
Also, they shouldn’t be whitened professionally, as over-the-counter prescriptions can irritate the gums and should not be used in children.
If the primary teeth are green they would eventually fall out and replaced by permanent teeth.
Treatment of Intrinsic Staining On Permanent Teeth
If the permanent teeth get stained, they can be tough to eliminate. At home, they can be treated in the following ways:
- Whitening strips and gels
- Whitening toothpaste or rinses
- Tray bleaching
Also, a professional whitening treatment can prove to be beneficial in treating permanent teeth stains.
In-office whitening treatments use a dental lamp to breakdown high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.
Veneers: Veneers are used to cover teeth instead of whitening them. It can be helpful in hiding stubborn stains that are hard to remove.
The treatment for extrinsic stains includes:
Scarring and Polishing: It is a professional cleaning treatment. A tool is used to scrape away the plaque and tartar present above and below the gumline.
- At-home whitening strips can be beneficial
- Whitening toothpaste
- Regular dental cleaning
Green teeth if present in the primary teeth is not a problem, but if it occurs in secondary teeth take advice from a dentist to give a suitable solution.