Perfectly white teeth are usually a sign of excellent dental health and disciplined at-home and professional dental care. But sometimes you might develop white spots or blotches on your teeth. Although white spots on your teeth aren’t necessarily a cause for concern, they may be a symptom of potential dental health issues like worn-out enamel. For the most part white spots are treatable, but it’s important to identify what their underlying causes are so that you and your dentist can take preventative measures.
Having noticeable white spots on your teeth can make you feel self conscious about your appearance and you might feel reluctant to show your smile as a result. White spots are a different shade than the rest of the white areas on your teeth, making them more obvious. There are a few common reasons for white spots to develop on your teeth, regardless of how well you take care of them. Keep reading to learn about potential causes and treatment options.
What Causes White Spots on Your Teeth?
There are several potential causes for those white spots on your teeth. During early tooth development, certain factors like acidity levels in the foods you eat or your dental hygiene routine can cause discolouration or white spots on your teeth. The following is a list of the most common causes of dental white spots and discolouration:
Most store-bought toothpastes and residential water supplies are fortified with trace amounts of fluoride to help keep your teeth white and clean. However, ingesting or exposing your teeth to large amounts of fluoride all at once—particularly during your dental developmental years—can be harmful to your teeth. Too much fluoride can cause a great deal of discolouration. Certain dietary supplements may also have fluoride in them, so be sure to check the ingredients list before purchasing them.
Enamel hypoplasia is often a symptom of other underlying health problems that are caused by a number of potential factors. Health conditions such as celiac disease where the body has trouble absorbing nutrients partially or completely can cause white spots on your teeth. Other factors include prenatal smoking (which can impact tooth development in children) and using antibiotics to treat fever symptoms.
When the body’s immune system is weakened by a medical condition or medications that you’re taking, your body will have a hard time processing and absorbing certain vital nutrients and this can lead to white spots or even brown and yellow discolouration on your teeth.
Excessive plaque buildup on your teeth can cause demineralization. This is when the acidic by-product of harmful bacteria in the mouth slowly eats away at your tooth enamel. This can be caused by a number of factors including insufficient or poor dental care, like not flossing or brushing your teeth properly, eating too many acidic foods and not getting routine dental cleanings. Children and adults who wear braces or have other temporary or permanent dental appliances in their mouths like a dental bonding strip or retainer are more likely to develop demineralization and severe plaque buildup.
Food particles often get caught in these appliances making them hard to remove with brushing and flossing alone. The longer they stay lodged between your teeth, the more plaque buildup will accumulate and this can lead to tooth decay, enamel erosion and discolouration.
Improper or Lack of Dental Hygiene
Proper dental hygiene techniques play a vital role in your overall dental health. It’s not enough to just brush your teeth once a day when you wake up. You need to make sure that you’re brushing your teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening before bed—and also flossing at least once a day. If possible, you should be flossing between every meal. It’s important to learn to floss the right way, though. Most dentists agree that the proper flossing technique is to carefully lodge the piece of floss between your teeth and move it up and down in a slow and gentle motion at least 6 times.
Including mouthwash in your dental hygiene routine can also help kill harmful bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, you should make it a point to visit the dentist once every four to six months for a cleaning and checkup.
By now, it’s no secret that eating too much junk food that’s packed with refined sugar is not good for your dental and overall health. But did you know that some healthy foods that contain high acidity levels can also be bad for your teeth? The natural acidity found in citric fruits like oranges, limes and lemons can slowly wear down your enamel over time, leaving your teeth exposed to harmful bacteria. Weakened or damaged enamel can also lead to other conditions like tooth sensitivity and decay.
What Type of Treatment Is Available for White Spots?
A number of treatment options are available to remove and diminish the look of white spots on your teeth. Your dentist may recommend one of the following treatment options depending on your needs and preferences:
- Microabrasion: During this procedure, your dentist will remove a thin layer of enamel from the surface of your affected teeth to improve their appearance.
- Bleaching: Another option is to have your teeth bleached. This is a safe tooth whitening procedure that lightens the colour of your teeth to match the white spots, but it’s not effective for white spots caused by overexposure to fluoride.
- Porcelain Veneers: If the extent of the white spots is too much to treat with microabrasion or bleaching, then your dentist might recommend porcelain veneers to cover up the white spots. Veneers are made to match the exact look and shape of your surrounding teeth, so no one will be able to tell the difference.
Do you have embarrassing white spots on your teeth? Princeview Dental Group is here to help. For over 20 years, we’ve been proudly providing dental services to the Kingsway community in Etobicoke and we’re always happy to take on new patients. Contact us today to make an appointment!