White spots on your teeth are certainly no fun. They can range from a barely noticeable annoyance to an embarrassing obstacle that keeps you from smiling and enjoying yourself properly. The good news is you don’t have to suffer with white spots permanently. There are some simple ways you can begin to address the white spots on your teeth and greatly improve your smile satisfaction.
What Causes White Spots on Teeth?
It can help to understand why you develop white spots on your teeth as you seek to treat them. There are several underlying reasons that can cause white spots on the teeth; some are easier to control than others.
Very young children who are exposed to extremely high levels of fluoride while their teeth are developing can have white or brownish spots called fluorosis. White spots caused by fluorosis are generally considered a cosmetic condition rather than a serious structural concern. Recent changes in the amount of fluoride added to drinking water may make this less common, but spitting (not swallowing) toothpaste is important for children under 8 who are still developing permanent teeth.
In older children, teens, and adults, the spots are generally areas where minerals have been stripped away, leaving weakened enamel. This process is called demineralization. Demineralization itself has multiple possible causes.
Demineralized white spots can be related to diet and nutrition. A malabsorption condition like celiac disease can cause problems with the tooth enamel surface. The body cannot absorb the nutrients it needs to build healthy enamel because of the disease, so it ends up growing unhealthy enamel. Poor nutrition choices that leave you deficient in minerals can damage enamel similarly. A lack of nutrients, particularly proteins or certain vitamins, can cause weakened, demineralized enamel. After all, the body can’t build mineral rich enamel if the minerals are not present to use in the first place. Even after enamel is formed, a good diet remains essential for healthy, spot free teeth. Highly acidic conditions in your mouth that strip away the enamel that make up the tooth surface will leave white spots on the teeth. Diets high in sugars are the biggest culprit when this type of white spot develops.
White spots also can be caused by poor dental hygiene. Poor brushing and flossing techniques and habits allow acid-rich tartar to build up and strip away the minerals from the tooth surface. Frequently, these types of white spots can be found after braces are removed, indicating poor oral care habits while braces were worn.
How to Remove White Spots on Teeth
1. Improve Oral Care Habits
Sometimes, a very mild case of white spots that occurs right after braces are removed can be alleviated by improving oral care habits in general. Proper and regular brushing with a high-quality toothpaste and flossing, particularly when combined with xylitol chewing gum designed for oral health, can improve the look of minor white spots over time. At the very least, it can keep current white spot lesions from getting worse and prevent new ones from appearing. It bears mentioning that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure here. Excellent oral hygiene habits can potentially keep white spots from ever appearing.
2. Use a Remineralizing Toothpaste
The minerals that are missing from your teeth need to be added back to strengthen and remove the look of white spots. Unfortunately, even if a dietary deficiency caused the spots, eating more calcium alone can’t restore your tooth enamel. Because enamel is not constantly refreshed the way other body tissues are, remineralizing enamel requires getting the needed minerals right to the enamel surface. This is why remineralizing toothpaste is so important.
Toothpastes that contain fluoride alone can add some mineral strength back to teeth, but they also can leave those white spots looking brownish. However, a toothpaste with nano hydroxyapatite contains the minerals that are missing from your teeth. Bio-identical minerals can build both strength and beauty when added to your teeth. Learn more about remineralization here.
3. Visit Your Dentist
Although not as simple as at-home treatment of white spots, your dentist can fill white spots with resin like that used for tooth-colored fillings. This procedure provides immediate cosmetic improvement. However, it may be much more expensive and invasive than treating spots at home. It does provide immediate strength and cosmetic improvement. For more severe cases, veneers—thin strips that cover the tooth completely—may be recommended.
Regardless of the method you choose to improve the look of your smile, treating white spot lesions can greatly increase your satisfaction with your teeth.