We have very clear and reasonable expectations for a pretty cosmetic appearance of our smile. We want to see white shiny teeth anchored in healthy pink gums. But, what if when we check the mirror, instead of white teeth, we see white spots on the gums? How can we prevent white spots from appearing and lessen any that pop up in our mouth? The answer depends on the cause of the spot!
Prevention Strategy 1: Cut Out Tobacco Use and Minimize Alcohol Use
Leukoplakia are thickened white spots on the gums that are generally benign, but occasionally become cancerous. They are often found in the mouths of tobacco users or heavy drinkers. If you thought smokeless tobacco would keep you safe from unhealthy side effects, there’s some hard truth here. Smokeless tobacco is harder on your teeth than other tobacco, and it’s strongly associated with oral cancer. Cut out or dramatically cut back on these bad habits to avoid these nasty white patches.
Reduction Tool 1
Leukoplakia do not move when you touch them. It’s necessary to have a dentist examine and treat these thickened white patches.
Prevention Strategy 2: Reduce Stress and Maintain a Healthy Immune System
White lacy patches can be an uncommon autoimmune condition called oral lichen planus. On of the most common causes are canker sores, which tend to erupt when you’re feeling run down and your immune system is working hard to fight off another infection (like a cold). Managing stress is important for managing all autoimmune conditions. Staying healthy will keep canker sores at bay.
Reduction Tool 2
If you are suffering from a breakout, you may need a doctor to prescribe a steroid to fight inflammation and aid your body in healing. Canker sores also have been thought to respond to rinses that restore pH balance to the mouth, so pH correcting rinses may be helpful supportive therapy along with doctor prescribed steroids.
Prevention Strategy 3: Cut Sugar Use and Maintain Healthy Oral pH
White patches can be oral thrush, which is more common in children, the elderly, and diabetics. Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth. It happens when the oral pH is out of alignment, allowing the fungus a favorable growing environment, and when there is plenty of sugars available for the fungus to consume. Dry mouth also contributes to favorable conditions for oral thrush. Maintaining a healthy pH and keeping your mouth moisturized can help fight off this opportunistic infection.
Reduction Tool 3
If oral thrush is minor, home remedies such as baking soda rinses can sometimes do the job. Otherwise, a doctor or dentist can recommend an oral anti-fungal regimen to kill the infection. This is definitely one case where prevention strategies are worth their weight in gold.
Whenever possible, take simple steps to prevent the development of white spots on the gums and enjoy your healthy smile every day.