Did you ever take a close look at your teeth and notice some spots that looked whiter than normal? Don’t worry; this is a common occurrence for which treatment is available. But why do these spots appear in the first place?
White spots on teeth can be caused by poor diet, dehydration, fluorosis, hypoplasia (thin enamel), or demineralization (in which bacteria or plaque dissolve the minerals making up teeth). Treatment for white spots depends on the specific cause; consult your dentist for advice on how to proceed.
There’s a lot to know about these pesky little white spots. Let’s take a look at what might be causing them, how to treat them, and how to prevent them from occurring in the future.
What Are There White Spots on My Teeth?
People love to have pearly white teeth and they’ll do almost anything to get a shining smile. So when white spots appear on the teeth, it can be a real shocker. But having white spots on the teeth is more common than you think.
White spots on teeth look like blotches of pure white color on your teeth. It’s a sort of discoloration of teeth that stands out from the rest of your teeth’s color. The color of these white spots is easy to identify because it’s different from the teeth’s color. It can appear on one or multiple teeth at a time.
In some cases, these white spots are harmless, as they result from a mineral or nutritional deficiency. Overcoming that deficiency will help you get rid of the white spots.
However, in some cases, the white spots can be an early sign of some serious tooth issues. It can mean that your tooth is decaying or your enamel is damaged. Therefore, understanding the root cause behind the white spots on your teeth is important. For that, you should get a dental checkup.
Improper dental hygiene or a dental condition called fluorosis can be the cause of white spots on teeth. Only your doctor can examine and tell exactly what it is. At times, the white spots can become too visible and affect the whole appearance of your teeth.
No matter how white your teeth are or how clean they are, you can still get visible white spots due to numerous reasons.
You shouldn’t self-treat your white spots at home thinking they are harmless. A dental check-up is important to make sure it isn’t something serious.
Common Causes of White Spots on Teeth
You might be wondering what the main culprit behind white spots on teeth is. Well, there are a lot of reasons that can cause white spots, such as:
- Poor Diet
- Poor Dental Hygiene
- Thin Tooth Enamel
All of these causes can be cured and avoided. So, you can get rid of white spots by identifying the cause of them and using the right treatment methods.
Sometimes, bacteria attack minerals on your teeth. These minerals include calcium and phosphorus. Due to the demineralization of your teeth, your teeth are eroded and a cavity can form.
Demineralization is usually caused due to plaque accumulation on your teeth. When the plaque sits there for a prolonged period, bacteria form acid in your mouth.
This acid causes the calcium and phosphorus on your teeth to erode. The enamel of your teeth becomes weak and white spots appear.
This can sometimes be seen in people who have had braces because plaque bacteria was left around the metal brackets for long periods of time.
If your diet doesn’t include an adequate amount of calcium, it can cause calcium deficiency in your body. Some of the signs of calcium deficiency include white spots on your teeth and nails.
Calcium is important for strong teeth. So, when there isn’t enough calcium, the tooth enamel weakens and becomes vulnerable to white spots.
Acidic food and too much sugar can also destroy the enamel by making it weak. This can be another reason for white spots on your teeth.
Fluorosis is a condition that is seen on the teeth when there is excessive intake of fluoride during the early childhood development stages when the adult teeth are buds forming in the jaws.
One or a few chalky spots can occur on adult teeth that erupt around the same time due to a high fever in the early stages of life or even during a hard pregnancy.
Fluorosis can also occur when too much toothpaste is used or ingested during childhood. In can even be ingested if your drinking water is not safe or properly tested.
Fluoride can make your teeth strong, clean, and white but too much of it can damage the teeth as well. A balance is key.
In severe cases of fluorosis, the white spots become yellowish or brownish. Only your dentist can identify if the white spots are from fluorosis or not.
Fluorosis occurs during the enamel-forming period of your permanent teeth. If at that age, you swallow fluoride in the form of:
- Mouth Rinsers
- Fluoridated Drinks
- Fluoride Supplements
While adults aren’t at risk of getting fluorosis, children under the age of 8 can develop this condition. This is because fluorosis only occurs when permanent teeth are developing. Make sure your kids are using a child-safe toothpaste like Crest Kid’s Toothpaste (on Amazon).
Poor Dental Hygiene
Not keeping your teeth clean can cause a lot of plaque build-up. Plaque stores of damaging bacteria and this bacteria can ruin the health of your teeth. When bacteria attacks the tooth enamel, the enamel becomes weak and it can show up as white spots on teeth.
People with braces can face plaque accumulation even if they brush their teeth and floss regularly. This is because it can be hard to reach under the braces. So, when braces are removed, white spots may appear in the spaces where they used to sit.
Thin Tooth Enamel (Enamel Hypoplasia)
You have read some common causes of a weak tooth enamel above. However, nutritional deficiencies can also cause a reduction in your tooth enamel.
When teeth develop with unusually thin or absent enamel, it’s called hypoplasia. Affected enamel can easily be destroyed by bacteria. Thin enamel is vulnerable to diseases and one of its consequences is white spots on teeth.
The white spots appear on the lower part of your teeth. In severe cases, the white spots can appear as brown spots as well.
When your mouth is dehydrated, the teeth can develop temporary white spots. It can occur if you sleep with your mouth open, especially when you have a common cold or flu.
If you don’t drink water for a long time, temporary white spots can appear on your teeth. Drinking water and rehydrating can fix this issue.
How Do I Get Rid of White Spots on My Teeth?
If you want to get rid of white spots on teeth, it’s best to consult your dentist about how to do so. Some of the common treatments that the dentist might suggest are explained below.
Your dentist might suggest a fluoride denitrifier for reducing the amount of fluoride in your teeth. It is effective in the case of fluorosis.
In this process, dentists use appropriate tools to remove a thin layer of enamel. The removal of enamel also removes white spots and improves the overall look of your teeth. It is often accompanied by teeth whitening to get a uniform color on your teeth.
Teeth whitening or bleaching is a procedure in which the tooth color is matched to the spots. It is effective only when the white spots aren’t too strong and aren’t due to fluorosis.
You can use teeth whitening strips like the Crest 3D Whitestrips (on Amazon) after consulting your dentist for an at-home teeth bleaching process.
If your white spots aren’t too visible and are due to enamel hypoplasia, your dentist might suggest a composite resin. In this process, the cavities are filled with resin, and enamel is bonded to protect it from further damage.
In case none of the above solutions are an option, your dentist might make customized veneers to cover the spots.
How Do I Prevent White Spots on My Teeth?
Follow the tips below to prevent white spots on your teeth:
- Keep your fluoride intake under control.
- Use a proper diet with enough nutrients in it. Avoid the usage of acidic food and too much sugar. Anything that can weaken your enamel should be avoided.
- Use nasal decongestants if you have the flu so that you can breathe through your nose.
- If you wear braces, carefully brush your teeth around the wires to get rid of any plaque under the braces.
- Encourage children to use the right amount of toothpaste to avoid getting fluorosis.
- Take care of your dental hygiene and also encourage your children to do the same. Most white spots occur due to negligence in childhood.
- Go for regular dental check-ups.
Do White Spots on Teeth Go Away?
Some white spots go away on their own while others require treatment. If your white spots are due to dehydration, then drinking enough water should be enough to get rid of them.
However, if you have problems like fluorosis or enamel hypoplasia, you will need professional treatment for it.
If you catch the white spots on time, you might be able to get rid of them with the proper treatment. Therefore, you should visit the dentist as soon as you see something wrong with your teeth. The dentist can save your teeth by treating them but if you ignore the issue, the situation could deteriorate and result in further damage to your pearly whites.