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What Causes White Spots on Teeth?

By Shelby Tatomir on December 31, 2019 in Dental Health

There are a variety of reasons for why white spots appear on teeth. Click here to learn more.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered what the white spots on your teeth are from? You’re not alone. 

Just as there are hundreds of white paint colors, white teeth can come in many different shades. This discoloration isn’t consistent and often shows up as spots, marks, or stripes. There are a few reasons for their appearance.

Discolored lines across the middle – When a child has discolored lines across the middle or bottom of teeth it is called dental fluorosis. Kids usually get this from using too much toothpaste prior to teeth breaking through the gums, resulting in excess fluoride on the teeth. According to the American Dental Association, kids are susceptible to this condition until the age of eight, at the end of their teeth’s development. Keeping an eye on their fluoride intake is important. Your dentist can help you determine the proper amount of fluoride for your child.

Everything from consuming well water to eating toothpaste — Yuck! — can play a role in the levels of fluoride. The white marks can stay on your teeth for as long as you have them. The good news is, in most cases, the white marks on your teeth have no effect on teeth health, and they may even be more resistant against decay.

White spots on teeth – This is many times known as enamel hypoplasia, which means you have less enamel on your teeth than the typical person. It’s often due to lack of nutrition. People living with celiac disease are no strangers to this issue, as they struggle to absorb nutrients through their digestive system. Premature babies are also susceptible. This condition can start as white spots on teeth, pits, and fissures. These areas are extremely vulnerable to bacteria and decay. Treatment for enamel hypoplasia includes the use of sealants or fillings and crowns or extractions, in some cases.

Plaque — Excess plaque in the mouth can lead to many negative outcomes. That’s why we brush our teeth after we eat so that we can remove harmful bacteria and plaque. But, people with poor oral hygiene and individuals with braces are more likely to experience plaque buildup. This can look like a pale yellow or sometimes almost colorless film and leads to the plaque eating away the minerals that make up our teeth. This break down of minerals can be reversed with good oral hygiene habits and regular dentist visits. To find a dentist in your area, click here.

Medications — Antibiotics have been known to discolor the teeth of children, as do things like antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and certain mouth rinses. Click here to learn more about medications and the mouth.

Dry mouth —Saliva is essential in keeping teeth free from food and bacteria. We can give thanks to saliva for transporting calcium and other tooth-supporting vitamins and minerals. There is a medical condition called dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. This can be caused by certain medications or even sleeping habits. Dry mouth can have a handful of oral health implications, one of which can lead to demineralization. When there is a lack of saliva, plaque is able to build up. Additionally, teeth can begin to dry out and form those pesky white spots.

So, what can we do about the white marks on our teeth? First, consult your dentist. Your dentist will ask you questions about your health history, daily brushing habits, and diet to determine the cause for teeth discoloration. From there, they can help you find the best solution to meet your needs.

Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, after meals, and flossing regularly. This simple process does a lot of good for both our oral and our overall health.

For more oral health answers, visit our blog. | To find a dentist in your area, use our search tool.