Starting from early childhood, our mothers convince us that a mouth full of pearl white teeth and a brilliant white smile are our best name cards in life. Growing up, we make sure that this is true: Hollywood smiles don’t leave anyone indifferent. So, you brush your teeth regularly and scrupulously each time after eating but then one day you notice that in spite of all the efforts, they still have imperfections – white spots. In fact, they may be your weak points that can get easily damaged because they lack the sufficient protection normal healthy teeth usually have. This article will be interesting for everyone who has teeth with white spots of an unexplained origin. We will look into the causes of these mysterious spots and find out what dangers they may present to your health.
Who Wants Polka-Dotted Teeth?
You may think “Wow, polka-dotted teeth… hmm…Is it a new trend, something like a tiny diamond on a tooth?” In fact, no… Not only these spots are rather doubtful from aesthetic point of view (teeth should certainly be very white but evenly colored, not spotted), they also may present threats to your dental health and have a tendency to aggravate in future. That’s why the spots, even if they are white, should be examined by a dentist to determine their cause and potential risks.
White Stains On Teeth: How To Narrow Down Your Suggestions?
So, if you have white spots on teeth, you’d like to know where they originate from and, more important, if you can get rid of them. These two questions depend on each other. you will get clear answer only when you’ll be sitting in the dentist’s chair. However, even now we can try to narrow down your suggestions to the right cause.
- If you have had your spots since you were a child, the culprit is likely to be a disorder in enamel formation back then (hypoplasia teeth).
- In case your spots have developed on adult, completely formed teeth, it can can be due to plaque (debris & bacteria) build up near the gum line. Plaque can discolor a tooth portion where it’s present.
- Cavities, so well-known to most of us not by hearsay, also begin like chalk white spots. They represent demineralized enamel areas, i.e. surfaces where a part of minerals from the outer layer has been destroyed. Such enamel loses its glitter, so the spots look like chalk (matte spots).
Below we offer a full list of possible causes which lead towards occurrence of white spots on teeth.
Chalky White Marks: What Causes White Spots On Teeth?
- Hypocalcification spots. These look like chalky white spots which become especially noticeable after tooth whitening procedures. Hypocalcification spots are caused by insufficient enamel calcification, formed when your teeth are still developing inside the jaw. Often when people do tooth bleaching themselves, they complain that white spots appear after the procedure. In reality they have been there before as well, but bleaching made them more apparent. Dentists remark that minor hypocalcification spots will fade when your teeth rehydrate after power bleaching. It may take a couple of days. If they don’t, a dental professional may offer you microabrasion or other aesthetic techniques.
- Precursors to cavities. When pH level in your mouth drops below 5.5, you are in a risk group of developing cavities. In fact, we all get into this risk group too easily since food and drinks lower the acidity level in the mouth whenever we ingest something. A dental cavity at the stage of its formation has a chalky white appearance. Some of these spots can be removed, but more important is that if you visit a dentist in time, you can stop cavity development and save your teeth health.
- Enamel hypoplasia. When teeth are developing, in some people this process doesn’t go completely as it should. Demineralization occurs, and some tooth areas become weaker and thinner than others. If you have hypoplasia, it hasn’t occurred due to lack of personal hygiene but rather as an inevitable developmental process. Being tiny, those white spots don’t present a real threat to your health, while larger spots should encourage you to visit a dental office.
- Enamel (ectodermal) dysplasia. This disease leads towards severe tooth discoloration and malformation: teeth have large spaces in between. Teeth appearance can be restored yet it requires complicated procedures, such as surgeries, realigning teeth and fixing implants, plus applying extensive microabrasion. In children similar disorders can be either congenital or acquired due to severe malnutrition.
- White stains on teeth from braces. If you wore braces, a white stain can originate from that. Simply when you had your braces on, it was hard for your tooth brush to reach that part of your teeth.
- Decalcification. It can be both a beginning of a cavity and a result of wearing braces. When a cavity just begins, plaque on teeth is releasing acids, leading to decay. Decalcification formed around braces also causes much trouble to those who finally expected to come up with a perfect smile.
- Fluorosis. This condition is opposite to demineralization. How does it develop? When fluoride penetrates into our teeth, fluorapatite, a substance harder than tooth enamel, is formed. First, it manifests as white spots, which later can become yellow or even brown. In other words, fluoride is the culprit of fluorosis.
Dental Fluorosis: Is Fluoride As Good As You Have Always Believed?
We know that fluoride is a component, present in water, tooth pastes and other hygienic solutions. However, it’s actually a toxic substance that is now viewed with much caution: it can’t be considered the best dental solution anymore.
Sometimes fluoride is unwillingly consumed in a big amount. It’s possible for those regions where drinking water is fluoridated or when some doses of tooth paste are swallowed by children, for instance. As a result, fluoride enters teeth, forms fluorapatite and enamel integrity gets impaired.
Generally they use fluoride, same like chlorine, to disinfect water. However, there are regions where groundwater resources initially contain much fluoride that can accumulate in your organism, causing harm not only to your teeth but also to the bone tissue.
Fluoride is especially dangerous for children, since precursors for fluorosis are founded during the first 6 months – 8 years of life. Fluoride accumulates in child’s teeth. When they get formed and exposed to environmental influences, fluorosis develops, beginning from white stains which further turn into yellow and brown ones. Yellow stains, unfortunately, can’t be bleached out, however, if you come to a dentst’s office at the stage while your stains are still white, a dentist can whiten the affected tooth so its color will blend with the stain color.
To avoid fluorosis lower the fluoride content in water, using water filters, and choose tooth pastes wisely, especially for children.
White Spots in Dentistry: Elimination & Prevention
To eliminate white spots, you need first to determine their cause, which is a task for a dentist. If your spot originates from cavities, the affected tooth needs treatment. If a doctor detects enamel hypoplasia in a child, special diet with calcium supplements is prescribed in order to inhibit the destructive process. Teeth with enamel hypoplasia are initially vulnerable due to available enamel damages. A dentist may offer additional protection – silver plating or covering teeth with special protective solutions. In this case the main task is to save the affected tooth until it’s time for its physiological change. The spots, caused by fluorosis, can be eliminated only with aesthetic restoration.
Perfect pearly white teeth, evenly colored, is the standard many people strive for. Lighter spots on the tooth surface can be both temporary marks which will eventually fade out and permanent stains that can even aggravate, becoming darker. That’s why if you notice any strange spots on your teeth, it would be right to consult a dentist, better early than late. Any problem, caught in its onset, is much easier to fix.