A smile is one of the first things people notice about you. While whiter teeth can make that smile stand out, extreme white spots can be concerning. What then are these white spots, and how can you get rid of them?
White spots on teeth can be the result of several different factors and can show up at any age, from childhood to your senior years. Determining the cause behind them may take time, but once identified, you can take action.
Causes of White Spots on Your Teeth
If the shade of those white spots differs enough from the shade of your natural teeth overall, the following may be to blame.
- Specific Foods: If your diet includes several acidic or sugary foods, those foods may be the reason for your white spots. Highly acidic foods, like soft drinks or certain fruits (e.g., lemons), eat away at the protective outer enamel layer of your teeth, leaving the whitened-out spots. Those foods high in sugar can form acidic plaque and erode the tooth’s enamel, exposing the dentin layer underneath.
- Acid Reflux: When acid is excessively produced in the mouth, throat, or stomach, it can affect your teeth’s enamel. The acid wears the tooth surface down, exposing the whiter dentin layer below.
- Plaque Build-Up: The build-up of bacterial plaque on teeth can be the cause of your white spots and may be signs of future cavities forming. To prevent this from happening, be sure to practice good dental hygiene. Brush and floss regularly.
- Low Calcium: The lack of calcium in your diet can cause weakness in your teeth enamel. Stick with high-calcium, low-acidic foods to keep this from happening.
- Side-Effect of Wearing Braces: White spots sometimes appear on teeth following the removal of braces. Plaque accumulates and builds up around and underneath the bracket locations. The lack of good dental hygiene while wearing the braces or being unable to reach areas to remove the plaque can lead to mineral loss in the tooth, causing the white spots as well as a chipped or rough appearance. While the white spots may disappear on their own eventually, continue practicing good oral hygiene to help.
- Temporary Tooth Dehydration: If you often sleep with your mouth open, the surface of your teeth can become dehydrated. White spots temporarily show up in the areas that are the most dried out. You should be able to rehydrate these easily with your own saliva, causing the white spots to disappear quickly.
- Dental Fluorosis: While fluoride is good, too much of it can be problematic. Problems most often occur when children consume too much fluoride during tooth development. This excess fluoride can exist in the home’s water supply, vitamins and other supplements, or oral health beverages and toothpastes.
- Enamel Hypoplasia: When a tooth consists of a lower level of enamel than normal, hypoplasia may exist and be the cause of those white spots. Mineral loss in the tooth from such health conditions as celiac disease or nutritional deficiencies can cause hypoplasia. Other potential causes of enamel hypoplasia include high fevers in babies or a mother smoking while pregnant.
White spots on teeth can occur from many causes, including ones not listed above. For this reason, scheduling a dental appointment to find the cause behind your white spots is the best course of action to take.
Fortunately, most white spots are cosmetic and easily treatable. Treatment solutions may include any of the following.
- Tooth Enamel Micro Abrasion: For those with no tooth enamel issues, a process known as micro abrasion may be an option. The process entails the removal of a small portion of the tooth enamel to reduce the appearance of white spots.
- Teeth Whitening: To even out colors of teeth, tooth whitening options are available. You can try over-the-counter methods such as strips or special toothpastes. However, professional teeth whitening services will use stronger bleaching agents and the oversight of an experienced dentist.
- Dental Veneers: Positioning a thin, protective covering like veneers over the tooth’s surface can hide any noticeable white spots and other irregularities.
- Topical Fluoride Treatment: If enamel hypoplasia is the cause of your white spots, the use of a topical fluoride treatment can potentially develop more enamel.
- Cavity Relief: For those white spots resulting from cavities in the tooth, the use of a composite resin is useful. The resin fills in the cavities and bonds with the outer teeth’ enamel, thus eliminating the white spots.
Tips for Preventing White Spots on Your Teeth
While most causes of white spots on your teeth are preventable, others can sneak up on you. Here are a few tips for preventing white spots from showing up on your teeth.
- Practice good dental hygiene by brushing twice daily and flossing at least one time per day.
- Include calcium-rich foods in your everyday diet, such as cheese, nuts, and greens.
- Reduce acidic and sugary foods and drinks from your diet.
- Drink water or swish mouth with water after consuming acidic or sugary foods
- Encourage children to brush with only small amounts of toothpaste.
- Test your water for fluoride levels, especially if from a well. Limit fluoride intake by babies and younger children.
- Schedule regular dental appointments for check-ups and cleanings.
Schedule an Appointment with Stiles Dental Care Today
If white spots on your teeth are interfering with your smile, let the team at Stiles Dental Care help. While these white spots are rarely a severe health concern, they can reveal dental issues that need addressing.
To get started quickly, contact our office today to make an appointment with Dr. Stiles and his team. Soon you’ll be safely on your way to a beautiful smile once again.