White Spots On The Teeth – What Does This Mean?

Dr Suky Ghuman explains what causes this and how to treat it.

Tooth discolouration is common, especially in those who eat or drink teeth staining foods and drinks, and also in older patients as the teeth start to yellow with age.

Understandably, many patients who suffer from this will come to the Cygnet Dental Practice to have their teeth whitened to alleviate the problem.

There is also another condition which causes patients to feel unhappy about the appearance of their teeth, and that is when the surface enamel appears to have a number of ‘white spots’ on them. This can be caused by a number of things, which we will take a look at now.

Causes of white spots on your teeth

Some of the causes of this particular problem are preventable, while others are not. Some are specific to young children, whilst others can happen at any time in our lives. Below are some of the most common causes of this problem.

Fluorosis

This specifically occurs in young children whose teeth are developing. It is not harmful to the teeth but it does leave them looking an uneven colour. By and large, this is preventable and reversible as it is caused by exposure to too much fluoride when they brush their teeth. Whilst using a toothpaste that contains fluoride is a good thing, it is important that they don’t use too much of it as this can lead to uneven discolouration of the tooth enamel.

For babies and toddlers, you only need to use the smallest smear on the toothbrush. For young children, an amount roughly equivalent to the size of a pea is ideal.

Demineralisation

To have healthy teeth, a number of important minerals need to be present including the likes of calcium, an important component of our teeth.  While a poor diet could lead to this, in the western world it is more likely that demineralisation will occur because we eat and drink too many high sugar or acidic foods and drinks. As the minerals leech away from the tooth, small white spots will start to appear. This is particularly common in patients who wear conventional braces, and is another good reason why you may wish to consider alternatives such as the Invisalign orthodontic system.

Where demineralisation is happening, perhaps the best way to prevent it is to reduce the amount of acidic products that you consume, and make sure that you have a good teeth cleaning regimen. We thoroughly recommend that you see Vicki or Samantha, our dental hygienists, who will be able to show you how best to achieve this. Always seek the advice of one of our dentists too!

Enamel Hypoplasia

This is a less common cause of ‘white spot syndrome’ but does affect some people. It is caused by patients having a thinner than usual layer of enamel on the teeth. It is sometimes seen in young children whose parents smoked during pregnancy and also through poor nutrition. It is relatively unusual though, especially as most people now know the dangers of smoking whilst pregnant.

Treating white spots

If your teeth have these ‘defects’, you may well be unhappy about the way that they make your teeth look. The good news for our Wickford patients is that treatments are available that can help to correct the problem.

Teeth whitening

Our popular teeth whitening procedure can be adjusted so that the rest of the enamel on your teeth matches the colour of the white spots, giving them a more even and attractive colour. Our custom home whitening kits are a particularly effective way of achieving this consistent whiteness, in effect, ‘hiding’ the white patches.

Dental veneers

For more severe cases of white spots, veneers can be considered to help correct the issue, replacing the affected enamel with a very thin layer of porcelain. If the white patches on your teeth are causing a loss of confidence, this is an excellent solution in many cases.

If white spots on your teeth are causing issues for you, the first step should be to make an appointment at the Cygnet Dental Practice so that we can examine your teeth and make a recommendation for treatment based upon that. We will never pressure you to have any particular treatment, especially where it is purely for cosmetic reasons, but we will provide you with advice so you can make a decision with the best knowledge available.

If you would like us to examine and provide treatment options for white spots on your teeth, please call our Wickford dental clinic on 01268 733078.