How to Prevent White Spots

Here at Williams Orthodontics, we believe in caring for our fabulous El Dorado and Monroe patients in and out of the office. A big part of that care involves keeping you informed on all the most relevant topics surrounding you and your family’s smiles.

To that end, we’ve noticed that some of you have been concerned about white spots on your teeth. You’ve probably wondered something along the lines of – what are those things? How do they form? And, maybe most importantly, how do I get rid of them? 

We’ve asked Dr. Williams to answer those questions and much more, so read on below to find out! 

So What Are White Spots? 

You’re probably wondering – what are those white spots on my teeth? 

This is definitely question No. 1 on most people’s minds. You wake up one day, look in the mirror, and suddenly notice your teeth are covered in spots! EEK!

Well, it turns out there are many different causes for those annoying white spots on teeth. And don’t worry, we can treat all of them! 

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 are 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 roughly 1 in every 14,000 people and tends to appear during childhood or early adulthood. Enamel hypoplasia can develop due to several different issues, such as having an improper or incomplete diet, experiencing a high fever during an illness, smoking while pregnant, premature birth, certain medications, or a traumatic tooth injury.

Cause #3 – Fluorosis 

Fluorosis is a condition resulting from too much exposure to fluoride during tooth development. In the case of mild exposure, it can occasionally lead to the formation of those little white spots we love so much. 

Fluoride is a mineral found in water, soil, and some foods. While fluoride is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay, and in fact, it’s even intentionally added to most tap water sources for the public good, excessive exposure can lead to fluorosis. This tends to occur during childhood when the teeth are still developing.

How to Prevent White Spots

Okay, so what do I do about it? 

Now that you know a few 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, particularly demineralization, a surefire way to avoid those unsightly white spots is to have a solid oral hygiene routine that you practice daily. 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. Williams’ most common conversation with a customer on white spots tends to go a little something like this: 

Mom: My child doesn’t drink soda; why are they getting white spots?

Dr. D: Does your child drink a sports drink like 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/per week.  

Mom: Wow!

Dr. D: Also, sugary drinks should not be consumed over a longer period.  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. Williams may recommend fluoride treatments to attempt to minimize your white spots. This is particularly effective if you suffer from enamel hypoplasia or similar disorders.

How to Prevent White Spots

Let’s Get Started Today! 

Now that we know what those white spots are, let’s work hard on brushing, flossing, 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 Williams 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 El Dorado and Monroe and working to unlock the best possible smiles they can possibly have. Let’s unlock yours now!