Why do people have white spots on teeth?

What’s the first thing you notice when your friends or family smile with you?

Probably, their shining white sparkling teeth.

At Health One, we focus on various techniques of whitening teeth. White teeth ensure that you have impressive dental health. But discolourations like white spots or blotches on teeth can be disturbing for everyone. 

The most important thing to remember is that the enamel, though the hardest substance in the human body, doesn't have living cells in it. It can’t repair or improve itself on its own. Enamel needs to be cared enough not only to flaunt a sparkling smile but also to have good oral health.

Causes of white blotches on teeth

White blotches or spots can be because of various reasons. To list some of them, they are 

  • Diet

The outer layer of the tooth is called enamel and it protects it from damaging against any acidic food. Exclude more acidic food, sugary snacks like sodas, lemons, grapefruit and oranges from your diet because it eats away your enamel. 

Acid reflux is another reason for white spots on teeth. The sphincter (or valve) at the lower end of the oesophagus opens at the false time allowing the acidic content of the stomach to spring back into the oesophagus and mouth. It may leave you feeling heartburn and once in the mouth, cause enamel to deteriorate.

  • Fluorosis

Everything works wonders for our body when it is in limits. Fluorine when in excess causes tooth decay and discolouration. A pea-size amount of toothpaste is required by adults. But for kids, the amount should not exceed the size of the rice grain. Watch out the amount of fluoride toothpaste you or your child is using.

Excess of fluoride and intake of fluoride beverages and food can cause fluorosis. Fluorosis causes pitted enamel (enamel with brown or black holes). Restrain yourself from fluorinated beverages like black coffee, black tea, wine, sodas and grape juice. Limit the intake of fluorinated foods like blue crab, shrimps and raisins in the diet.  

  • Plaque mushrooming

Mushrooming of bacteria that causes plaque on teeth can encourage the formation of white spots on teeth. The bacteria can continue to degrade the tooth either because of poor dental habits, not brushing or flossing regularly or wearing braces.  Braces make it harder for some to brush his/her teeth properly. 

These white spots are caused by bacteria underneath or around the brackets. Poor dental hygiene or sometimes inefficacy to remove plaque amid bracket cause white blotches on the tooth.  

  • Enamel hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia is a dental defect that can happen when the teeth are developing. It can act on both milk and permanent teeth. Enamel hypoplasia refers to having a deficiency of enamel than normal, caused by faulty enamel matrix formation. The weakened enamel makes the tooth more vulnerable to decay and damage. 

Smoking while pregnant, premature birth of baby, malnutrition, viral or bacterial infection and in genes (hereditary) cause enamel hypoplasia in children. The visible signs of it are the presence on grooves or lines on the outer surface of the tooth.  

  • Mouth Breathing

Sleeping with mouth open and mouth breathing encourages the formation of white spots, which may disappear after a few hours. These white spots are formed because of dehydration of the tooth’s enamel surface. They disappear when saliva comes in contact with the teeth, they rehydrate them and white spots go away.

Treatment for white spots on the teeth

There is a good number of treatments also to make these white blotches disappear. 

  • Microabrasion

Microabrasion is a painless solution for removing a layer of yellow, white stains on the enamel from the tooth’s surface using mild hydrochloric acid and pumice.

  • Enamel Bleaching

Bleaching is a tooth-whitening procedure that involves applying whitening gels under a dentist’s supervision. Enamel bleaching helps to restore the colour of the tooth’s enamel. The treatment whitens the entire tooth so as to camouflage it with the colour of the white spots.

Professionals use strong bleach and they work for a longer time. But bleaching is not recommended for people who have got white spots from fluorosis.

  • Porcelain Veneers

A dentist may recommend using porcelain veneers depending on the stretch of white spots. A porcelain veneer is the thin covering or sheath that is bonded to the front surface of the teeth giving a natural white look to the teeth. 

  • Nasal decongestants or Chin straps

Wear chin straps or if you have a cold or viral infection which is making you congested, take nasal decongestants before going to sleep. This will make you breathe from the nose. 

Preventive tips 

Observing regular and excellent dental hygiene is helpful in preventing white spots on the teeth. This includes brushing and flossing daily twice a day. 

Dentist suggests rinsing the mouth after every meal. Flossing before bedtime is also necessary. Follow a healthy diet and regular checking up with your dentist help prevent the formation of white blotches on teeth. Getting rid of white spots is much easier than you think.