White Spots on Teeth

An aesthetically pleasing and attractive smile helps in creating an impactful first impression. A bright and healthy smile has both psychological and emotional influences on an individual’s personality. An unattractive smile may impact others perception about you, making you appear nervous and hesitant.

Healthy teeth form the basis of an attractive smile. Developmental defects in the enamel disrupt the natural appearance of the teeth, thereby affecting the overall appearance.

White spots on teeth are one of the many reasons affecting the smile. White spots on the teeth may be a sign of decay, so it is essential to identify the cause.

There are various reasons which lead to the formation of white spots on teeth which include:

1) Enamel hypoplasia

Enamel is a mineralized layer covering the tooth. It is the outermost and the most robust layer which protects the tooth from any bacterial and acidic attack. Developmental disturbance in the mineralization of enamel causes the appearance of white spots on teeth.

2) Fluorosis

Intake of excessively fluoridated water, excess use of fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash, or increased intake of fluoride supplements can cause discoloration of enamel leading to dull white or yellow spots.

3) Demineralization of teeth

White spots on teeth may also appear due to the excessive consumption of acidic food. Also, patients having braces may experience the development of white spots on teeth, caused due to the inability to maintain good oral hygiene.

4) Bacterial growth

The oral cavity is the most preferred site for the bacteria to grow. Acids secreted by the bacteria, lead to the decalcification of teeth. This decalcification results in the formation of white spots.

5) Diet

Foods rich in calcium include green leafy vegetables, almonds and cheese. Tooth enamel is mainly composed of calcium. A diet low in foods containing calcium can cause white spots on teeth.

6) Medications

Children are at high risk of developing white spots, especially when they are on medications. Antibiotics given to children interfere in the absorption of calcium by the body. The Deficiency of calcium leads to white spot formation.

7) Smoking during pregnancy

Smoking tobacco during pregnancy affects calcium absorption which leads to enamel hypoplasia in children, thereby leading to white spots.

8) Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is one common cause of white spots. There are times when white spots are noticed on the teeth after waking up in the morning. This happens when an individual has slept with their mouth open leading to the dehydration of enamel of teeth. These white spots disappear when saliva rehydrates the teeth.

How to remove White Spots on teeth ?

Have you ever wondered whether the white spots on your teeth can be removed? Well, the answer is Yes !!! Your dentist can treat these white spots in different ways. Some of these methods are as follows :-

1) Enamel microabrasion

Enamel microabrasion is the most preferred method by the dentist. This method involves the thinning of the enamel layer. It is done by the dentist using tools like rubber cup and rotary mandrel. This treatment is similar to the teeth whitening process, except that this treatment is executed mechanically, and not chemically.

2) Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is the most commonly done procedure by the dentists for the improvement in the esthetic appearance of teeth. This method involves the use of a chemical agent called hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide may also be used. This method helps in brightening the overall appearance of teeth, thereby making the white spots less visible. Some tooth whitening strips are readily available at the pharmacy. However, patients should prefer getting it done from their dentists.

3) Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers are custom made coverings that are cemented on the front surface of teeth by dentists.  To get veneers, a patient has to go twice to the dentist, first for a consultation and to get temporary veneers fitted and second to get the final veneers fitted.

4) Composite resins

The surface of teeth affected by white spots can also be covered with the help of composite resin, by a dentist. The use of composite resins is a cheaper option compared to the use of dental veneers.

5) Nasal decongestants

The usage of nasal decongestants when having a cold is to help sleep with the mouth closed. This helps avoid white spots. Also, various salivary supplements can be used, which help keep your mouth wet.

How to prevent White Spots on teeth ?

  • Maintenance of good oral hygiene helps avoid the development of white spots. Brushing should be done daily, two times a day, after waking up and before going to sleep. Flossing should be done once a day and mouthwashes should be used regularly. Plaque formation around teeth having braces can be avoided with the help of a Waterpik. Mouth should be rinsed properly post every meal.
  • Excessive intake of acidic food and sugar should be avoided. Lesser the consumption lower would be the attack on the enamel.
  • Pregnant mothers should avoid smoking and intake of medications unless prescribed by an obstetrician. Unprescribed medications can have harmful effects on the fetus.
  • To prevent excess fluoride exposure in young children, they should be monitored while they are brushing their teeth. They shouldn’t put too much toothpaste on the toothbrush, but rather apply a pea-size amount to the toothbrush. Also, children should be taught not to swallow toothpaste while brushing. The amount of fluoride consumed by the children should be adequately monitored, and care should be taken to limit the intake of beverages such as fruit juices and soft drinks

Additional References

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