Most people have thought more than once about whitening their teeth. In fact, a recent survey showed 80% of Americans aged 18 to 49 specifically WANT whiter teeth.
Even if you have pretty white teeth already, have you ever looked closely and noticed small white spots or discolorations that cause your teeth color to “not blend?” You’re not alone. That said, no two people experience this type of tooth discoloration in the same way. Some barely notice the spots while others have large enough white spots on their teeth that they become noticeable every time they crack a smile.
If you’ve noticed white spots on your teeth, your first thought might be to try whitening products to even out the color. Unfortunately, this common dental problem can sometimes be the result of something more serious than a surface–level issue, and whitening products won’t accomplish what you want them to.
Understanding the cause of white spots on your teeth is the first step to addressing the problem. This article is our Carrollton patients’ quick-start resource to figure out what might be going on. If you have concerns or questions, then give us at Josey Lane Dentistry a call and schedule a diagnostic exam.
Have I always had these spots?
Tooth discoloration can result from a myriad of factors ranging from external influences (like food and beverages) or habits (like smoking), or even internal issues such as complications resulting from illness or aging. Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle, genetics can also play a role in determining the health and color of your teeth.
White spots on the teeth generally result from tooth decalcification. The appearance of a chalky white spot on a tooth is the earliest sign of a carious lesion. This “enamel decalcification” occurs when the remineralization process of a tooth is disrupted. This stage is visible before cavitation has occurred, and has the ability to be reversed by saliva–induced remineralization.
Sound technical? We can diagnose if this is the issue you’re having, and talk you through all your treatment options.
Another reason you might see white spots on your teeth is due to bacterial growth. Poor oral hygiene can cause bacteria to grow at an alarming rate. Acidic conditions in the mouth is what further spurs growth and strip minerals away from the teeth. You or your child might have experienced this after having braces placed. When braces are removed, the buildup of plaque deposits underneath the bracket commonly leads to a stain. This is another reason it’s important to carefully monitor your diet and increase your diligence in brushing when you have braces.
My child has white spots, should I be concerned?
Many of our patients at Josey Lane Dentistry have called asking this question. It can be alarming to notice a difference in appearance in your child’s teeth, especially if you’re concerned it could indicate some kind of health problem.
Many times, white spots on teeth in children is the result of fluorosis. We think of fluoride as a good thing for teeth, and it is. But a condition called fluorosis can happen if you get excessive fluoride applied to your teeth. The patients most likely to suffer from fluorosis are children, as their smaller bodies require lower fluoride intake.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has confirmed and assured parents of the benefits of fluoride and officially recommends choosing a toothpaste for children that contains fluoride. It is recommended to choose a fluorinated toothpaste for children as soon as they get their first tooth. Since children this young lack the ability to spit out excess, it is important to only use a rice–grain-sized bead on the toothbrush. This allows for distribution on the teeth and begins forming the cavity-fighting layers of fluoride without overdoing it.
In mild cases of fluorosis, no treatment is required. However, in more severe cases there are several fluorosis treatment options aimed at improving the appearance of affected teeth. Give us a call to learn more.
Medications and when they cause white spots
If you have a good oral health routine but still experience white spots, medications that you are on could be the cause. Studies show that antibiotics like amoxicillin can impact the way your mouth builds tooth enamel, making it easier for bacteria to eat through tooth enamel. This happens because antibiotics have the potential to interfere with the way your body absorbs nutrients.
If you suffer from allergies—and who doesn’t in Carrollton—the antihistamines that you take could also cause tooth discoloration.
Finally, for those with high blood pressure, certain medicines used in its treatment including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, heart rhythm medications and diuretics, can cause side effects like dry mouth. Dry mouth makes swallowing and digestion difficult, greatly increasing the risks of tooth decay and teeth staining of all kinds.
Can your diet cause white spots, too?
Your diet can also cause white spots on your teeth. If you find yourself eating huge quantities of highly–acidic foods like citrus fruits, that habit could be eating away at the enamel on your teeth.
A diet high in sugar also causes the formation of acidic plaque, which can erode enamel. To limit the prevalence of white spots, it is important to cut down on the amount of acidic food you eat. And when you choose to indulge, make sure to brush your teeth after.
Help! What can be done about white spots on my teeth?
If you are noticing white spots on your teeth, don’t freak out! There are a number of options on the market and in our office to help you restore the brightness of your smile.
First, microbrasion is a process which involves gently removing a thin layer of surface enamel, thereby improving the appearance of your teeth. Many times this procedure is paired with teeth whitening to really bring out the brilliance of the teeth.
Another options is to remove spots on teeth through bleaching. Bleaching teeth refers to whitening teeth beyond their natural color. Active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are bleaching agents most often used in teeth bleaching processes. Through the bleaching the tooth’s color is lightened to match the white spots.
Another option if bleaching doesn’t work (or isn’t an option) is the use of veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin shells of medical-grade ceramic that are used to recreate the natural look of teeth while also strengthening them. Each individual veneer is uniquely crafted for a patient. This ensures your smile remains natural. Veneers allow for small adjustments to the color, tooth size or shape, and position of the tooth.
Curious about any of these treatments? Come visit us at Josey Lane Dentistry to learn more!