Causes of White Spots on Teeth

If you’ve noticed a bright, chalky white spot or appearance on your child’s teeth, it could be a number of issues at play. While white spots on teeth may seem like a cosmetic concern, it can hinder a child’s smile and may lead to the deterioration of the teeth. Generally, white spots indicate that there is a loss of mineral on the enamel of the teeth, known as hypocalcification. One of the most common causes for white spots in children is too much fluoride at a young age. However, there are various reasons why there may be white spots on a child’s teeth. Let’s dive into some of the common causes for this occurrence.

1. Too much fluoride

Fluorosis is one of the most common reasons for the appearance of white spots in young children. Teeth need fluoride to stay strong and harden tooth enamel, thus helping to make them resistant to acid and bacteria. However, Fluorosis is a condition that occurs due to the excessive consumption of fluoride before a child’s teeth are fully developed. This could be a result of high fluoride levels in your community’s drinking water. Fluorosis can end up damaging the enamel of the teeth, thus causing white spots.

2. Cavities and decay

White spots are often one of the first signs of tooth decay in children. The spots can appear along the gumline and are usually a chalky, pale color. If the decay continues, these spots can turn brown or yellow. This usually occurs as a result of sugar and acid eating away at the teeth. Not to mention, white spots on the teeth can increase the risk of developing cavities. However, receiving fluoride early in the process can help reverse the decay by strengthening the tooth enamel.

3. Dry mouth

If your child has a dry mouth, there is probably not enough saliva to keep the pH level of their mouth neutral. Therefore, acid-producing bacteria will grow, thrive and attack the teeth with acid. Certain medications, medical conditions, and breathing through the mouth when sleeping can cause dry mouth. Moreover, drinking plenty of water and using mouthwash to combat dry mouth can be helpful.

4. Wearing Braces

Braces won’t directly cause white spots on teeth but engaging in poor dental hygiene while wearing them can. Poor brushing habits can lead to a buildup of plaque in those areas that are hard to reach. Then, when the braces are finally removed, those areas could have white spots as well as tooth decay. Give your child a Waterpik to use after brushing to help remove food and plaque.

5. Acidic fruits and drinks

The excessive consumption of acidic fruits and beverages damages the enamel of the teeth and other natural minerals. Foods that have a high acidic content, like sour candies, lemon or vinegar-based foods, and acidic drinks like carbonated soda and lemonade, can cause white spots on the teeth.

Prevention & Treatment

It’s important to monitor your child’s dental health and help them take proper care to prevent white spots from resurfacing again. Follow these tips to prevent them in the future:
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  • Encourage your child to brush and floss at least twice daily, especially after consuming sugary foods and beverages.
  • Instead of sugar, use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.
  • Schedule dentist visits every six months for a check-up and cleaning.
  • Use a fluoride rinse (if the cause is tooth decay)
  • Avoid offering sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
  • Help your child practice exceptional oral hygiene, especially if they have braces.
  • Include enough foods with calcium in their daily diet.

We recommend visiting a dentist when you first see signs of white spots on your child’s teeth. This may help them to avoid more serious problems down the road. As far as treatment is concerned, the dentist will assess factors such as the size of the white spots, their cause, the deterioration of the enamel, and the overall number of white spots on teeth. The dentist may also use different techniques to remove white spots on teeth such as microabrasion, bleaching, or even capping the teeth. However, treatment may not be necessary if your child still has their primary teeth. In some instances, the white spots can fade away on their own with improved brushing and flossing.

If you have any questions, please contact us today. Our friendly staff is here to address any concerns about your child’s dental health.