Let us know if this sounds familiar – you check out your teeth in the mirror one day and you notice white spots! Eek!
Not to worry! Here at Dietrich Orthodontics, we know this can be an unsettling experience, but chances are that your white spots are one of a few common orthodontic problems, all of which we can handle! Not only can they be treated, but we’re also going to go over what causes white spots and what you can do about them!
What Are White Spots?
You’re probably wondering – what the heck even are those white spots on my teeth?
They could be one of a few different things. Read on to find all the info!
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:
- There is bacteria in the mouth, which 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 approximately 1 in 14,000 people and can manifest during childhood or adulthood. Enamel hypoplasia can arise due to a number of different factors. Some of these include inadequate nutrition, a high fever during an illness, smoking while pregnant, premature birth, certain medications, and/or a tooth injury.
Cause #3 – Fluorosis
Fluorosis is a dental condition that results from overexposure to fluoride during tooth development that can cause white spots when it’s a mild overexposure.
Fluoride is a mineral that is found in water, soil, and some foods. While fluoride is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay, excessive exposure can cause fluorosis. This typically occurs during childhood, when the teeth are still developing.
Okay, so what do I do about it?
Now that you know a few of the causes of those white spots on your teeth, let’s get down to it – what do we do to avoid them?
Method #1 – Practice great oral hygiene!
You should be doing this anyway! For many of the common causes of white spots, in particular demineralization, a surefire way to avoid those unsightly white spots is to have a solid oral hygiene routine that you practice each day. 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 OVERLOOKED REASON!
Dr. Dietrich’s most common conversation on white spots:
Mom: My child doesn’t drink soda, why is he/she getting white spots?
Dr. D: Does your child drink a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade?
Mom: Yes, but only for sports.
Dr. D: One regular Gatorade has the sugar equivalent of almost 4 Krispy Kreme Donuts. Just one. So, while moderation is okay, your child should either brush directly after drinking a sports drink or limit it to one/week.
Dr. D: In addition, sugary drinks should not be consumed over a longer period of time. The sugar has longer to sit there and attack your teeth and create white spots.
These drinks increase the acidity in the mouth and lead to demineralization. This, in turn, leads to those white spots! A good rule of thumb when it comes to sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks is no more than 1 liter per week for adults or no more than 8-12 ounces per week for children and young teens. Even DIET soda is very acidic, so don’t think that replacing regular soda with diet will 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. Dietrich or your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments to attempt to minimize your white spots. This is particularly effective in the event that you suffer from enamel hypoplasia or similar disorders.
Call Today for a Free Consultation!
Now that we know what those white spots are, let’s work hard on bruising and our diet to avoid these unsightly marks. If you aren’t a patient, with or without white spots, it’s time to set up your free consultation with Dietrich Orthodontics today!
We have the expertise and the technology to handle any orthodontic problems you may have, and that includes white spots. Not only that, but we love getting to know our neighbors here in Canton, Alliance, and everywhere in between, and helping them unlock the best possible smiles they can have. Let’s unlock yours now!