Here at Sycamore Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Peter and Dr. Sarah Barysenka, alongside the whole crew, are dedicated to helping you and your children smile more! And what could be more helpful than teaching you all about how to avoid those unsightly white spots that sometimes appear on your teeth? Read on to learn all about how to prevent white spots right here!
What Are White Spots, Anyway?
You’re probably wondering – what the heck even are those white spots on my teeth?
It is definitely question No. 1 on most people’s minds. You wake up one day, look in the mirror, and suddenly notice your teeth are covered in spots! EEK!
Well, it turns out there are a number of different causes for those annoying white spots on teeth. Don’t worry; we can treat all of them!
Cause #1 – Demineralization
Also known as decalcification, this is the process by which the mineral content (primarily calcium and phosphate) of the tooth structure is lost, leading to the breakdown of the tooth enamel and dentin. This is the most common cause of white spots. This can occur because:
- Bacteria in the mouth produce acids as they metabolize sugar and other carbohydrates. EXAMPLE: Sports Drinks, Soda, Candy, some Juices
- The mouth’s pH becomes too acidic, allowing for the dissolution of these minerals.
- certain medications and medical conditions that can affect saliva or dry mouth
- In some cases, external factors such as excessive brushing or environmental factors
Cause # 2 – Enamel Hypoplasia
Enamel hypoplasia is a more uncommon condition that causes a thin or absent enamel covering on the teeth. It affects roughly one in every 14,000 people and tends to appear during childhood or early adulthood. Enamel hypoplasia can develop due to a number of different issues, such as having an improper or incomplete diet, experiencing a high fever during an illness, smoking while pregnant, premature birth, certain medications, or a traumatic tooth injury.
Cause #3 – Fluorosis
Fluorosis is a condition resulting from too much exposure to fluoride during tooth development. In the case of mild exposure, it can occasionally lead to the formation of those little white spots we love so much.
Fluoride is a mineral found in water, soil, and some foods. While fluoride is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay, and it’s even intentionally added to most tap water sources for the public good, excessive exposure can lead to fluorosis. This tends to occur during childhood when the teeth are still developing.
What Should I Do to Avoid White Spots?
Now that you know a few causes of those white spots on your teeth, let’s get down to it – what do we do to avoid them?
Method #1 – Practice good oral hygiene!
You should be doing this anyway! For many of the common causes of white spots, particularly demineralization, a surefire way to avoid those unsightly white spots is to have a solid oral hygiene routine that you practice daily. This means brushing at least twice daily for at least two minutes per session, but to be more thorough, brush after each meal and snack. Be sure and brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and keep the bristles at a 45-degree angle while brushing. This ensures that you get the most out of each session. Don’t forget to floss!
Double-check the area between your bracket and gums for food and plaque! This is the most common area missed and because of that, the MOST common area for white spots to occur!
Method #2: Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks – THE MOST IGNORED CAUSE!
These drinks increase the acidity in the mouth and lead to demineralization. In turn, this leads to those white spots! A good rule of thumb when it comes to sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks is at most one liter per week for adults or at most eight to 12 ounces per week for children and young teens. Even DIET soda is very acidic, so replacing regular soda with diet will not help. All soda can cause white spots.
Method # 3 – Fluoride Treatment
Assuming that your white spots aren’t caused by fluorosis (in which case, this is definitely not the treatment for you!) Dr. Peter or Dr. Sarah may recommend fluoride treatments to attempt to minimize your white spots. This is particularly effective if you suffer from enamel hypoplasia or similar disorders.
Ready to Supercharge Your Smile? Call Now!
Now that you know all about how to avoid those pesky white spots, it’s time to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Peter or Dr. Sarah at our conveniently located Sycamore office! We love seeing new smiles, no matter what age, and you’re never just a number at our practice. Call today to get started!