What are the white spots on teeth?

White spots on teeth can be disturbing in one’s smile and can influence on confidence. Sometimes they are not clearly visible and they mean, there has been a loss of minerals on the surface of the teeth, on so called enamel. This is actually enamel hypo-calcification. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what white spots signify. They are normally a cosmetic concern and do not adversely affect the tooth’s health, however, sometimes they can represent also a functional anomaly, because that kind of a tooth is less resistant to acids from oral environment. Preventing the onset of white spots is the best option.

What are the causes?

  • Bad oral hygiene. White lesions that occur during life on the enamel of permanent teeth are most likely there due to dental plaque, which was not removed properly for a longer period of time. This is the so-called initial enamel caries, which occurs at sites that were poorly cleaned. They are often found on the enamel near the gum. This is the most common reason for white spots.
  • Acid. Too much acidic food (sour candies, vinegar) or drink (sport or carbonated drinks, lemonade) can disolve enamel. Acid reflux can also be problematic, because it means mouth have higher levels of acidity which can result in white spots.
  • Celiac disease. It is affecting up to 4% of the population and up to 89% of people with celiac disease exhibit enamel problems.
  • Too much fluoride (fluorosis). Fluorosis is the most common cause of white spots. Consuming excessive fluoride, especially during your teeth’s development, can cause teeth to develop white spots, especially if you live in an area where drinking water contains a high fluoride level.
  • Whitening. It’s been reported that even some brands of whitening strips can cause white spots, especially if they are left on for several months. They are highly acidic and over time can de-mineralize the tooth’s enamel.
  • Genetics. In some cases, the white spots on your teeth may be caused by genetic disorders.

Why can we find white spots on baby teeth?

Toddlers with white spots on their baby teeth usually get them because of different illnesses, medications, exposure to certain minerals, ingesting too much fluoride or eating certain foods. They can also be initial enamel caries because of poor oral hygiene, which is mainly the primary cause.

What can we do at home to stop progression of white spots?

It’s recommended to visit a dentist when you first see signs of white spots and avoid more problems down the line. The initial enamel caries can be stopped with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, who makes professional cleaning of the teeth and, if necessary, applies fluoride gel to strengthen the enamel. It is necessary to remove plaque twice a day with a soft toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and interdental brush or floss. This can prevent caries or stop the progression of the initial caries. White spots remain on the enamel permanently, once they’ve became visible. To remove them it is necessary to undergo additional treatments.

What a dentist can do?

It depends on the size of the white spots, real cause, the deterioration of your enamel and the overall number of white spots on teeth. Dentist might whitten the teeth to remove white spots by concealing the discoloration. If the bleaching process does not work, you may have to undergo micro-abrasion procedure, if the defects aren’t too severe. Micro-abrasion is the procedure with a course diamond bevel to mechanically remove the spot before applying resin over the treated area. Sometimes it is necessary to follow this treatment with bleaching to improve the results.
If white spots are large or if you have many white spots, micro-abrasion may not be the best option and you may be recommended to undergo a cosmetic treatment with capping the teeth, using a white filling, or applying a porcelain veneer. Another treatment is on the market today. Micro air-abrasion or etchant application is followed by a daily application of amorphous calcium phosphate every day for two weeks. This treatment may result in a complete elimination of the white spots. In some cases there can be only minor improvements, if so, the treatment should be repeated and by the end of the second treatment, the white spots should disappear. If the white spots indicate breakdown of tooth’s enamel, it may be recommended a fluoride topical rinse, which may heal any soft white spots. It can also be recommended special toothpastes or gels that help remineralize white spots.

What are the 6 recommendations that help to prevent white spots on teeth?

  1. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day.
  2. Practicing excellent oral hygiene if you’re wearing braces.
  3. Seeing your dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning.
  4. Getting sufficient calcium in your diet.
  5. Using a fluoride during oral hygiene.
  6. Reducing often consumption of sugary and acidic food and beverages during the day.

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