Having white teeth is usually a sign that you’re nailing your oral healthcare routine but sometimes little spots that are a different shade of white to your natural teeth can appear. What do these mean and are they anything to worry about? Are they signs of tooth decay or
Causes of White Spots on Teeth
There are several reasons why you might be seeing small white spots, also known as white spot lesions, on your teeth. They can be an early sign of tooth decay so check with your dentist and get to the bottom of the reason for these white spots.
While we know that fluoride is essential in maintaining healthy teeth, too much of it can actually cause discoloration. This is most commonly seen in children and occurs before their teeth break through the gum line. You can get excessive amounts of fluoride by drinking overly fluoridated beverages, swallowing or not spitting out toothpaste and by taking fluoride supplements.
This can occur in circumstances where too much plaque has built up, either because of a poor brushing or flossing routine, or sometimes because of dental appliances such as braces. Demineralization is also known as decalcification as calcium and other minerals are leached out of the teeth by bacteria, leaving white spots behind.
If you regularly consume food and drinks that are highly acidic, such as soda and citrus fruits, this wears away on your enamel, causing white spot lesions. Calcium is the building block for teeth so a diet lacking in calcium will also result in discolored enamel.
This is a condition where teeth have thinner or less enamel than they should. Like fluorosis, it only occurs in children with developing teeth and may cause tooth sensitivity, an increase in the risk of cavities, bite problems and aesthetic issues.
Sleeping With Your Mouth Open
Dry mouth can cause temporary white spots on your teeth that will disappear once your saliva gets flowing again.
How to Prevent White Spot Lesions on Your Teeth
Prevention is better than cure and there are some steps you can take to protect yourself from developing white spot lesions on your teeth.
As white spots can be an early indicator of tooth decay, make sure you’re following the dentist-approved routine of brushing your teeth at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day.
Cut down on sugary and acidic foods as these can wear away your enamel.
Use a water flosser, especially if you have braces, to ensure a thorough clean of the areas around the brackets and wires.
Help young children with their brushing routine to make sure they are using the correct amount of toothpaste and that they are not swallowing too much of it.
Try and find out the fluoride levels in your tap water and avoid fluoride supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.
Will the White Spots on My Teeth Go Away on Their Own?
The bad news is that if you don’t do anything, your white spots are unlikely to just disappear on their own. The good news is that in most cases, white spot lesions can be treated by improving your oral care routine or by consulting with a dentist. The success of treating your white spots also depends on the underlying cause of the issue.
How to Get Rid of the White Spots on My Teeth
You’ve got a few choices in how to get rid of white spot lesions. If you are unhappy with the way your teeth look, visit your dentist to discuss the best way to remove these spots from your enamel. Here are the most common and effective ways to get rid of any white spots on your teeth:
Removing tiny amounts of enamel can remove the spots from the surface of your tooth. This can lessen the appearance of the white spot lesions and a treatment of bleaching or teeth whitening is also often used to even out the appearance of the tooth’s surface.
Tooth Whitening or Bleaching
This process can reduce the look of white spot lesions by lightening the surface of the rest of the tooth. It’s also very effective in removing other stains from teeth. While teeth whitening kits and strips are available through pharmacies or online, a visit to a dentist can provide better, longer lasting and more consistent results.
If all else fails, your white spot lesions can be covered with dental veneers. These are very thin slivers of porcelain bonded to the front surface of a tooth, leaving it looking natural and in perfect condition. And the best part is, they’re also stain resistant so no more white spots will be seen.
Ask Your Dentist About the White Spots on Your Teeth
You may have white spots on your teeth for a variety of reasons, some of which you can control and others you can’t. If you’re worried about tooth decay or the appearance of your teeth, make an appointment to see your dentist. We can advise the best course of action to take regarding white spot lesions and get you smiling again in no time.
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