I can remember going to the doctor as a kid and begging for bubble gum medicine. No shots, please; just give me the pink stuff.
I loved my bubble gum medicine … until I was an adult.
Holy crow. Were my tastebuds broken as a child? That stuff tastes more like another pink medicine that I loathe, Pepto-Bismol. Yuck.
I never knew that the pink bubble gum medicine was actually called amoxicillin.
What is Amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is a form of penicillin. It is a very common antibiotic that kills off bacteria. Many doctors prescribe it to treat various infections.
It will only treat bacterial infections—not viral. If you try to use an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu, it will not work. Taking antibiotics when they are not actually needed can result in a lack of effectiveness when taking that antibiotic to treat an infection in the future.
Doctors prescribe it for things like tonsillitis, pneumonia, ear infections, bronchitis, throat infections, skin infections, nose infections, and urinary tract infections.
Amoxicillin is often paired with other antibiotics like clarithromycin to treat stomach ulcers resulting from a helicobacter pylori infection. The goal is to prevent ulcers from returning.
There are plenty of side effects that can be caused by amoxicillin. Some of the side effects include nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, yellowing skin or eyes, sore throat, fever, bruising easily, dark urine, thrush, diarrhea, or yeast infection.
Good times. Good times.
I think many of us have experienced or witnessed our children suffering from one or more of these side effects. But the side effect I did not know, the one that the nurses and doctors have never mentioned to me, is orange teeth.
Wehoo. You could be the proud owner of pretty, orange-dreamsicle teeth. Eww.
Just like that, my bubble gum medicine has lost its sparkle.
When does the antibiotic amoxicillin discolor the teeth?
Typically, an antibiotic can do damage before we are even born. In other words, it happens to us when our mothers take something while they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If we take amoxicillin regularly before the age of 8, the chances of it affecting our teeth are much more significant.
Amoxicillin stains tend to occur on the outside of the tooth. This is also known as an extrinsic stain. Extrinsic stains are much easier to get rid of than an intrinsic stain that occurs inside the tooth.
One dose of amoxicillin can result in turning your kiddo’s teeth into a lovely shade of yellow or orange. If you’re lucky, the stains don’t last much after the final dose of medication is taken.
Augmentin is another form of amoxicillin. It is a common childhood antibiotic. Augmentin consists of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid and is also known as amoxicillin-clavulanate.
Augmentin can fight off some forms of bacteria that do not respond to typical antibiotics. This means augmentin may be more effective in the treatment of various bacteria than other antibiotics.
Naturally, there are side effects of augmentin, too. They are similar to those of regular amoxicillin. Unlike amoxicillin, augmentin turns the teeth brown or yellow; it can last for weeks or months and is often mistaken for tooth decay.
If your kiddo has been taking amoxicillin or augmentin and their teeth are turning orange, yellow, or brown, head to your dentist to take care of those stains as soon as possible. Otherwise, those temporary stains become permanent stains.
How to Prevent Staining from Amoxicillin or Augmentin
Well, the short answer is pretty basic. Just brush your teeth. Twice a day, every day.
Think of it like this …
If your dogs walk in with dirt on their paws, you will barely notice the dirt at first. They will leave a little bit of dirt on the carpet with each step.
Every time they go outside, they bring in a bit more dirt. They walk on your carpet each and every trip inside.
Over and over, those dogs are depositing dirt onto the carpet with their four paws.
(Wook at dis face. I would never get dirt on your carpet.)
One day, you look down and notice that your gray carpet now looks brown.
And, of course, it looks brown. You never cleaned up the dirt that was being repeatedly deposited onto your carpet.
So what was once a temporary turned into a real problem that takes a whole lot more effort to fix.
That’s how it is with amoxicillin stains.
If you brush your teeth regularly to remove the residue responsible for the stains, it should not be a problem to keep those stains from becoming permanent.
What can be done if your teeth are stained by amoxicillin?
Sometimes it just goes without saying that our children might not be very diligent in brushing their teeth. So, it should come as no surprise that those little people may end up with orange teeth.
(Not that any of our children would ever, ever fib about brushing their teeth.)
Little do they know that they will have a logical consequence for not taking care of their teeth. Likewise, parents must take their kids for regular check-ups, and adults must continue regular dental checkups.
Regular dental cleaning may not do the trick if you wait too long. It may take more in-depth treatment to remove those orange, yellow, or brown stains.
The different tactics to be used to deal with amoxicillin stains include:
- Avoid drinking and eating stain-inducing food and drinks while taking amoxicillin or augmentin. The antibiotics, in conjunction with tea, cola, juices, etc., can cause further staining.
- Proper dental hygiene must be done. Flossing, rinsing, and brushing your teeth every day, twice a day must happen. This is just standard, smart, preventative care!
- Veneers might need to be done if the stains are permanent. This is a very expensive treatment plan for a preventable stain.
- Whitening systems can be a solution to amoxicillin stains. Snow teeth whitening system is the best one on the market. You will not be disappointed if you choose this route!
- Whitening toothpaste is also another option but will not be as effective as an actual whitening system.
- Cosmetic bonding is like drywall mud for your smile. Your dentist will match your tooth color and rub the compound into your natural teeth to cover up any discolored spots.
- Professional bleaching is an option that will require a much harsher chemical agent to remove the discoloration from your teeth.
Well, you may have an entirely new perspective on that bubble gum medicine now, huh? It’s not all easy peasy when it comes to taking your amoxicillin now that you know it can stain your teeth.
But at least you know what you need to do to help prevent it from staining your teeth and seeing the many different options for taking care of stains that have resulted from amoxicillin or its sister medicine augmentin.
It’s all fun and games until your teeth match an orange creamsicle!