Many people want perfectly dazzling white smiles, but there are sometimes hurdles to getting there. Your smile may still have imperfections even with a dedicated oral health routine. For example, some patients complain about tiny white spots that appear on their teeth. White areas are not as alarming as a cavity or a chip in your tooth.
However, it may get in the way of your ideal smile. Many people think white spots develop because of whitening toothpaste or methods, but that is not the case. If you have white spots, your dentist can remove and even prevent future ones in many cases.
What Are White Spots on Teeth?
These white spots on your teeth are technically called lesions. Several factors can cause them.
Too much exposure to fluoride (also known as fluorosis) causes one type of lesion. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your enamel and prevents cavities. Toothpaste, other dental products, and most water supplies contain varying amounts of fluoride. While fluoride usually is good for your teeth, too much fluoride can begin to affect your enamel.
Fluorosis is common in children because they are more likely to ingest toothpaste while brushing their teeth. You should not swallow toothpaste, and doing so might cause an overexposure to fluoride. Adults can develop fluorosis by drinking tap water with high fluoride levels.
Your diet and oral hygiene routine could be a source of white spots. Bacteria naturally live and thrive in your mouth; it is the perfect environment. When there is a buildup of bacteria, it can eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Over time, it can actually “demineralize” or remove essential minerals from your teeth. These white spots can be an indicator of tooth decay.
Lesions caused by demineralization are often seen in patients with braces since it can be harder to brush and floss your teeth properly. Unfortunately, demineralization can also happen in patients with a diet low in calcium. Luckily, if caught soon enough, your dentist can reverse white spot lesions.
Sometimes, genetic factors or trauma to the teeth creates white spots called enamel hypoplasia.
How Can This Discoloration Be Prevented or Reversed?
The first step in reversing white spots is to figure out the cause. If you are ingesting too much fluoride, check the fluoride levels in your water. Even your food has small amounts of fluoride. In children, you should monitor them as they brush their teeth and limit the amount of toothpaste on their toothbrushes. Supervising will prevent them from swallowing too much fluoride.
You may also need to check your diet to ensure that you get the calcium and minerals required to keep your teeth strong and healthy. In addition, neutralizing acids after eating and drinking can help reduce white spots.
A proper oral health routine can prevent white lesions. Brushing twice a day or after meals and flossing at least once daily is another way to avoid white spots.
For white spots already present, your dentist may recommend whitening treatments, topical fluoride, microabrasion, or even veneers. You and your dentist will need to find the root of your problem before they can offer you a removal or reversal method.