Can iron drops stain teeth?

Your smile is the signature that you can give to your friends and acquaintances at the first moment. A beautiful smile is not possible except with healthy and neat teeth.

Have you ever encountered people with stains on their teeth at first glance? Some people attribute the cause of their stains and tooth decay to the use of iron drops. Is this thought true? To what extent is the tooth black or the tongue to be black with iron? Can iron drop only to the tooth of the children, or can iron tablets cause such a complication in adults?

Keep in touch with StrAIberry to find out whether iron drops stain a tooth.


The importance of iron in the development of children and infants

The body needs iron hemoglobin formation (the iron-containing protein in red blood cells). Blood hemoglobin helps carry oxygen through the bloodstream to the tissues and cells of the body. Without hemoglobin, the body stops producing healthy red blood cells. Without enough iron, your baby’s muscles, tissues, and cells will not receive enough amount of oxygen they need.

Breastfed infants have their iron stores and usually receive enough iron from breast milk for the first six months, while formula-fed infants typically receive iron supplementation. But as your baby gets older and eats solid foods, the food sources may not contain enough iron for body needs. This sets the stage for iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can cause growth disorders in babies. The following disorders may also occur:

  • Occurrence of learning difficulties
  • Delay in learning motor skills
  • Muscle weakness


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Having enough iron strengthens the immune system, and its deficiency leads to an increase in the incidence of colds, flu, and infections. Children need to get the iron and vitamins they need through a balanced and healthy diet. Some children are at risk for iron deficiency and need to take supplements. If your child has the following conditions, doctors may prescribe iron supplementations:

  • Irregularities in nutrition and anorexia
  • Medical conditions that prevent the absorption of nutrients, including intestinal diseases and chronic infections
  • Low birth weight and premature babies
  • Children born to iron deficient mothers
  • Children who consume too much cow’s milk
  • Lead exposure
  • Young athletes
  • Infants and adolescents who are in the age of puberty and growth


Different types of iron supplements

Iron supplements for children are available in the form of tablets or liquid formulas that are made specifically for children. You can take iron supplements in the following forms:

  • Liquid drops

Liquid supplements work well because the body can absorb them easily. The dropper glass is usually prepared with a dropper marked on a dropper tube to indicate the number of droplets in milligrams. You can squeeze the liquid directly into your baby’s mouth.


  • Syrup

Syrup iron supplementation is easy to use, and you can use a spoon to measure the amount of consumption.


  • Chewable supplement

If you do not want to use the syrup and drops form, you can try the chewing supplement. They taste sweet and easy to consume and usually contain the vitamins your child needs.


  • Candy

Children love candies because of their pleasant taste, and on the other hand, consuming these iron-containing candies is safe and secure.


  • Powder

You can mix iron powder supplements with your baby’s favorite foods such as oatmeal, mashed potatoes, or cold desserts.


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Effect of iron drops on baby’s tooth decay

If we want to use iron supplements for the baby, we need to go for syrup or drops because the baby’s brain is not evolved enough to be able to swallow the pill. Iron drops are usually reddish-brown and stain the baby’s tooth, causing a dark stain on the tooth and sometimes gum lines. This type of tooth discoloration may occur immediately after eating iron drops or over time can be seen on the teeth.

As the baby’s teeth change, most parents think that their teeth have been decayed, while no scientific research has up to now proven that iron drops can cause tooth decay in babies. A change in tooth color after using iron drops does not indicate decay. We can only state that some components in iron drops can lead to dark spots on teeth.

Infants require 11 mg of iron daily from the age of 7 months to the end of one year. Doctors prescribe iron drops to cover a part of this amount. Iron deficiency directly harms the child’s brain and physical development. Paleness, fatigue, poor appetite, recurrent infections, slow growth, and coldness of the hands and feet are symptoms of iron deficiency in children.


Iron blackening of teeth in adults

The liquid form of iron supplementation, such as syrup, and drops, may cause a change in the tooth color and cause brown spots, which are sometimes very nasty. In fact, high concentrations of iron may cause this problem. But most adults usually take iron supplements in pill form. What comes to mind is that can iron tablets make black spots on teeth. In some cases, even iron supplements in pill form can cause blemishes.

If people taking iron pills chew the pill or keep it in their mouth for a long time such that the coating on the tablet, which is often based on sugar, dissolves, they may stain their teeth. Otherwise, blackening of the teeth with iron in the form of tablets will not happen.

But if adults take iron supplements in the form of drops or syrups for any reason, they may have black teeth like children. Especially if they do not drink water or juice after that or do not rinse their mouths.


Prevent stained teeth after iron consumption

We said that iron blackening of teeth occurs more by consuming its liquid form. The liquid form is also often given to children. Here are some solutions to prevent the staining of teeth with iron supplementation:

  • Dilute the iron drop with some water and then use it.
  • If you are giving the drops to a baby and citrus is allowed for his age, add iron drops to the orange juice to increase the absorption of iron with the vitamin C in oranges.
  • If you have diluted the iron drop with water, you can use a straw to drink it so that the supplement does not come into direct contact with the front teeth.
  • Place the iron drop in the back of the mouth so that the drop does not hit the front teeth.
  • After taking iron drops or syrup, make sure to drink water or clean the teeth with a damp cloth or cotton.
  • Brush in liquid form after taking an iron supplement, or if you have given it to a child, brush their teeth with a finger toothbrush.


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Does iron supplementation cause tooth decay?

As mentioned in the previous sections, liquid iron supplementation can leave black stains on the teeth but will not lead to caries. A change in the color of teeth into black with iron is not a sign of caries, and in many cases for adults, you can see a dentist for scaling. If you see black spots on your baby’s tooth as a result of iron drops, you can use baking soda to remove the stains. But if the stains are such great that the whole tooth gets black, you can refer to a dentist for tooth scaling.


Tongue turning into the black by iron drops

Iron supplements in pill form will never cause the tongue to turn black. But in some cases, mothers complain about their children’s tongues turning black because of iron drops. The contact of the iron drop with the tongue may slightly harm the villi on its surface, and lead to the black tongue.


Other causes of blackening of the tongue

There are hundreds of small bumps on the tongue called papillae. You may see your tongue darken for the following reasons:

  • Poor oral hygiene and not brushing
  • Eat hard foods that scratch the tongue
  • Not producing enough saliva
  • Side effects of some medications that cause dry tongue


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