What are the white spots on teeth? Why are children affected more than adults? Discover the causes of white spots, marks, stains or patches on teeth, especially after teeth whitening or after using braces. Learn how to get rid of the white spots on your teeth using various treatments, including effective home remedies. Furthermore, explore the various ways you can use prevent the formation or recurrence of white spots on your teeth. We have also inserted informative pictures to enable you to get well-illustrated facts about white spots on teeth.
Summary of Page Contents
- What are White Spots on Teeth?
- What Causes White Spots on Teeth
- White Spots on Teeth after Whitening
- White Spots on Teeth When Sick
- White Spots on Teeth Overnight
- White Spots on Teeth in Adults
- White Spots on Teeth in Child or Toddler
- How to Get Rid of White Spots on Teeth (Remove)
- Medical Treatments for White Spots on Teeth
- Home Remedies for White Spots on Teeth
- White Spots on Teeth Before and After Removal Pictures
- How to Prevent White Spots on Teeth
- Our Sources and References
What are White Spots on Teeth?
What are the white spots on your teeth? Healthy teeth have an intact enamel, which is uniformly whitish and very hard. Consequently, the teeth appear normal without any stains or spots. However, due to various reasons, white spots may form on the teeth.
The white spots, marks, stains or patches on teeth are due to a condition that interferes with the structure of the enamel. As a result, the enamel develops a chalky color and texture. This chalky color and texture of the enamel is what appears as white spots on teeth. In addition to the white spots, your enamel becomes porous and hence more susceptible to wear, breakage, and decay.
What Causes White Spots on Teeth
There are many causes of white spots, marks, stains or patches on teeth. In fact, some of the causes can be traced back to before birth. However, we shall highlight some of the common causes of white spots on teeth.
1. Fluorosis (Excessive Fluoride)
Fluorosis refers to a very common disorder of tooth enamel. It is caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride during the formation of the enamel. It results in visual, usually intrinsic, changes on tooth enamel, ranging from discoloration to physical damage of teeth.
This discoloration is what is appears as white spots on the teeth. Normally, fluoride is a vital mineral that keeps your teeth healthy. But, ironically, excessive fluoride is a potential cause of bright white spots on teeth.
The degree of damage caused by fluorosis basically depends on the age of the individual and duration of exposure to fluoride. In addition, it depends on the quantity of fluoride ingested during the exposure.
Accordingly, too much intake of fluoride for a longer time will cause severe damage while less intake for less time will result in mild damage.
On the other hand, if the ingestion of fluoride happens in childhood, when the enamel is rapidly developing, the damage caused to the teeth will be severe. In contrast, if the ingestion takes place later in life when the enamel is hardly developing, the damage will be mild.
The most common form of fluorosis is very mild. This is the form that results in white spots which are scattered irregularly over teeth. Moderate fluorosis leads to brown stains while severe ones cause brown corroded looking teeth.
2. Acidic Food
Intake of food with high acidic content can also lead to the formation of white spots on teeth. Such food includes sour chocolates made with lemon or vinegar. Others are acidic fruits like lemon and drinks like lemonade and carbonated soda.
The acidic foods corrode the enamel and remove essential minerals from it. As a result, the enamel becomes discolored and appears like white spots on teeth. Usually, white spots caused by acidic food are found at the tip of the teeth. However, they can be located anywhere on the teeth.
3. Mouth Dryness
Normally, your saliva glands produce adequate saliva for your mouth. The saliva does not only lubricate your mouth, it also maintains the right the pH level in the mouth. However, if the saliva gland produces inadequate saliva, you will have a dry mouth.
The decreased amount of saliva fails to neutralize the pH level of your mouth. As a result, bacteria grows and thrive in your mouth. The bacteria produce harmful substances in your mouth, including acidic secretions. The acid produced in the mouth corrodes your teeth enamel and removes essential minerals from it. Consequently, the teeth become discolored and develop areas that appear as white spots on your teeth.
4. Poor Oral Hygiene
If you fail to clean your mouth regularly, plaque will accumulate in it and especially on the teeth. Plaque refers to the sticky layer of soft substance that forms on your teeth if they are not cleaned. They are a collection of food debris, especially from carbohydrates such as sugar and starch.
Usually, plaque builds up slowly by slowly after every meal you have without brushing your teeth. When in your mouth, plaque encourages the development of bacteria. The bacteria feeds on the plaque and produce acidic substances.
The acid in the substances produced attacks the enamel of your teeth, wearing it out. In addition, it removes vital minerals from the enamel leading to irregular decolonization, which is the white spots you see on your teeth.
5. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is associated with many health challenges. The challenges include reduced lifespan, eczema, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In general, the disease causes many health issues and undermines the body immune system. The weakened immune system interferes with proper mineral absorption by the body organs.
The disrupted absorption of minerals in your body results in inadequate minerals in your teeth structure. Consequently, you end up developing irregular patches or white spots on your teeth
6. Teeth Braces (orthodontic treatment)
It is common for young children to wear braces to help their teeth to grow straight. This procedure, which is called, orthodontic treatment, can lead to the formation of white spots on their teeth. However, teeth braces do not themselves cause white spots. Rather, it is the poor hygiene practice with the braces that can cause the white spots on teeth to develop.
Apparently, the use of teeth braces presents conditions which require special hygiene practice. Wearing braces creates hard to reach areas when cleaning your teeth. For example, you may not be able to brush your teeth in areas around and behind the braces easily. In other words, the braces become like obstacles to easy cleaning of your teeth and mouth in general.
So, if the proper hygiene is not followed, plaque will develop on the teeth. This will encourage the development of bacteria, which will attack corrode and demineralize your teeth. As we have seen in the cases above, this will lead to the formation of white spots on your teeth.
Incidentally, this is happening when the teeth are growing and the enamel is still rapidly developing. Definitely, the damage on the enamel is severe and hence many serious white spots are likely to form on your teeth.
7. Teeth whitening Stripes
Teeth whitening stripes are teeth whitening products shaped to fit into teeth. Some of them contain the whitening substances while other are staffed with the whitening substances before use. They are worn on the teeth during the whitening process.
Incidentally, an acid is one of the contents the whitening substances. So if the teeth whitening stripes are used regularly and for a long duration, the acid may corrode and demineralize the teeth enamel. This will lead to discoloration that appears as white spots on your teeth
8. Mineral Loss/ Demineralization/Decalcification
Mineral loss from teeth may occur due to various reason. The mineral loss is technically referred to as demineralization. Since the main mineral lost in this process is calcium, it can also be called decalcification. Mineral loss from the teeth causes discoloration which may appear as white spots on teeth.
Mineral loss may occur in many ways. To begin with, it may occur when your diet is not balanced, especially when it is lacking in calcium. Also, mineral loss may occur in case you suffer from a disease or condition that disrupts proper mineral absorption. Lastly, mineral loss may occur when your teeth are subjected to certain curbstones that are usually corrosive, especially acids.
9. Genetic predisposition
For some people, the development of white spots on teeth is genetically influenced. In some cases, the genetic predisposition affects individuals without any connection to heredity.
However, there are some cases where the genetic predisposition is inherited. In such cases, the white spots on teeth run in the family. Inherited genetic predisposition can easily be noticed if the white spots on teeth are common among people with the same family lineage.
10. Acid reflux (GERD)
Acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is a condition where the contents of the stomach come back up into the esophagus. In case you have this condition, your mouth is likely to have higher levels of acid than normal because the acid in the stomach may find its way to your mouth.
As we have already seen, the acid wears the enamel and removes essential minerals from teeth leading to the formation of white spots on your teeth.
11. Enamel Hypoplasia
Enamel hypoplasia is a condition whereby there is inadequate enamel to fully protect the teeth. In most cases, this defect affects only certain portions of particular teeth.
Enamel hypoplasia is caused by medical side effects, nutritional deficiency, fever, premature birth and smoking during pregnancy.
Areas affected by enamel hypoplasia are found to have fewer minerals. Hence they are prone to many teeth problems including white spots, decay and other teeth stains.
White Spots on Teeth after Whitening
It is very common to develop white spots after teeth whitening. White spots on teeth from whitening caused by the products which are used in teeth whitening. Teeth whitening products generally contain some acid. The acid is responsible for demineralization of the enamel and hence the formation of white spots on teeth.
White Spots on Teeth When Sick
If you develop white spots when you are sick, it is probably because your sickness caused dehydration. You might even realize that your mouth is dry. The color of your teeth will be restored when your mouth returns with normal saliva hydration levels. This may happen after treatment and recovery of your illness.
White Spots on Teeth Overnight
If you develop white spots on teeth overnight, they are likely to be temporary white patches caused by dehydration because you slept with your mouth open. Typically, the white spots will disappear a few hours before after waking up. This is due to the fact that they will be re-hydrated by saliva and their original color will be restored.
White Spots on Teeth in Adults
White spots on teeth may develop in adults. If your teeth are regularly subjected to acids and excessive fluoride, they may get demineralized. As a result, the teeth may get discolored and appear as white spots on your teeth.
Other causes of white spots on teeth in adults include teeth whitening procedures, acid reflux and mouth dryness. Sometimes, developing white spots in adulthood could be an early first sign that you may have teeth decay.
White Spots on Teeth in Child or Toddler
Children are more prone to white spots on teeth. Basically, white spots on teeth are caused by enamel interference and demineralization. Since the tooth enamel of toddlers’ teeth and children is still tender and rapid development, it is bound to be affected most by factors that cause white spots on teeth.
In addition, white spots in toddlers and children may be caused by prenatal practices of the mother. For example, prenatal smoking is often associated with the formation of white spots in children.
How to Get Rid of White Spots on Teeth (Remove)
Do white spots on teeth go away? Normally, you have to take deliberate effort to get rid of white spots, stains or patches on teeth. You can to fix white spots on teeth in many ways deepening on their severity. Generally, medical treatments are more reliable and stronger and, are used to get rid of severe white spots on teeth. On the other hand, home remedies are less reliable and weaker, and usually only removes mild white spots on teeth.
Medical Treatments for White Spots on Teeth
Medical treatments for white spots on teeth are more reliable and can treat bboth extrinsic and intrisic white spots or stains on teeth. The method used depends on the nature of the stains
1. Teeth Bleaching
This procedure employs bleach-based teeth whitening to lighten the entire teeth. This helps to balance the tooth color by matching the entire tooth with the white spots. As a result, white spots get obscured, leaving a uniformly colored tooth.
However, in case the process is not properly managed, it may backfire, as the white spots may become whiter than the rest of the tooth. This may not solve the problem because the white spots will still be noticeable.
Therefore, according to American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the procedure should be carried out or monitored by a professional dentist for safe and effective results. It recommends that you get an in-office teeth whitening procedure or use a take-home teeth whitening kit that is supervised by a dentist.
You can also use over-the-counter (OTC) bleaching products and whitening toothpaste. However, the process of teeth whitening using these products may take long or give unsatisfactory results. This is due to the fact that these whitening products may not be as effective or the procedure will not be properly managed.
2. Microabrasion [Polishing]
Microabrasion is a procedure that essentially involves gently scrubbing to remove a thin layer from tooth enamel. It is also called polishing. It entails the use of a cream that contains mild acid and abrasive particles.
The cream is first spread evenly over the teeth. It is then rubbed gently and carefully for about 15 seconds after which it is washed away. This procedure is repeated several times until the outer layer of the enamel with the white spots is substantially polished.
After the treatment, it is advisable that you apply a fluoride gel. You then wash away the gel and brush well to remove all the cream that was used in the process.
Microabrasion may remove the white spots entirely or just lighten the teeth such that the white spots diminish substantially. The result you get from this procedure depends on the depth of the white spots on your teeth.
However, you may carry out teeth whitening treatments after microabrasion in order to get a high-quality aesthetic effect on your teeth. Of late, this procedure usually follows microabrasion to get the desired results.
3. Porcelain Veneers
In this technique, custom veneers called porcelain veneers are fabricated with thin layers made from ceramic material. The veneers are then bonded to the front of the teeth.
Before fitting the veneers onto your teeth, a thin layer of your enamel is first removed. This creates room for the veneers to be fitted on the teeth.
After fitting and bonding the veneers, you get smart natural-looking white teeth. What is more, the teeth will now be resistant to future stains.
4. Composite Bonding
This is a technique that is used to get rid of white spots on teeth by obscuring them. In this procedure, a composite resin is molded on your teeth to give them an even texture and a uniform whiter appearance.
Besides helping in getting rid of white spots on teeth, this procedure can be used as a cosmetic solution to other teeth problems such as chipped teeth, brown stains and black stains on teeth themselves or on teeth filings.
5. Resin Infiltration
As a matter of fact, resin infiltration is the most conservative and least invasive option of treating white spots on teeth. This technique entails applying resin infiltration on teeth. Normally, the procedure is carried out by a professional dentist using the manufactures instructions.
In this procedure, the teeth are first cleaned with pumice using a rubber cup. A dental dam is then fitted on your mouth. After this, the resin is carefully applied on your teeth.
Upon application, the resin infiltrates the pores on your teeth enamel that contain the white spots. The process is repeated two or more times in order to get the desired results.
At the end of the whole procedure, the white spots disappear almost completely. As a result, the affected area now blends reasonably well with surrounding natural tooth area. This leaves you with attractive white teeth and a bright smile.
Home Remedies for White Spots on Teeth
There are home remedies for getting rid of white spots, marks or patches on teeth at home. Generally, these methods can only remove extrinsic white stains on teeth. The comen methods include:
1. Oil Pulling
This procedure is also called coconut oil pulling because it is coconut oil is often used. The lauric acid in coconut oil helps remove the white spots on teeth. Besides, coconut oil nourishes and strengthens your teeth.
- Take a little coconut oil into your mouth and swish it for about 10 minutes
- Now spit the oil and was your mouth with warm water
- Repeat this procedure every morning to get rid of the white spots on your teeth
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an excellent home remedy for white spots on teeth. The alkaline composition of baking soda not only helps get rid of the white spots but also removes plaques from the teeth.
When baking soda is mixed with water, it forms an alkaline solution and releases free radicals. When the resulting solution is placed in the mouth, the free radicals interact with the white spots on your teeth enamel and oxidize it off the teeth.
- Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to half a teaspoon of water in a cup.
- Mix them thoroughly until you get a paste-like substance
- Brush your teeth with the solution with for to two minutes
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plenty of water, or preferably mouthwash
- Repeat this procedure every after on day for two weeks
- Now reduce the frequency of this procedure to once or twice per week
Caution: If you use baking soda too frequently, its abrasive properties may damage your teeth
Various products may be used together with baking soda to enhance its effectiveness. However, baking soda still remains the main content in the combinations. Some of the combinations that are commonly used include:
- Baking soda and vinegar.
- Baking soda and strawberry
- Baking soda and toothpaste
- Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda and salt
- Baking soda, peppermint extract and glycerin
- Baking soda and lemon juice or lime juice
3. Rinse Your Mouth with Green Tea
Besides being a general healthy drink, green tea can help remove white spots from your teeth. Green tea provides minerals and vitamins that help remineralize your teeth and hence remove the white spots.
Green tea will also get rid of buildup of plaque on your teeth and hence prevent the formation of white spots on teeth. To rinse your mouth with green tea:
- Place a green tea bag in some warm water in a cup
- Leave it in the warm water for 5 minutes
- Let the resulting solution cool to bearable temperature.
- Sip the solution into your mouth and swill it around your mouth for about one minute
- Spit it
- Repeat this procedure several times every day
4. Mineral and Vitamin Diet
Have foods that are rich in minerals and vitamins to help remineralize your teeth and get rid of the white spots on teeth. Focus on foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamins K2 and D3 and fat soluble vitamins. They will remineralize and make your teeth stronger and healthier. Above all, they will fight the white spots on your teeth.
Generally, avoid processed and packaged foods. And include the following natural foods in your diet:
- Raw dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter
- Meat, fish, eggs,
- Oils from coconut and fish, and liver
- Plenty of fruits including olives and avocado
5. Get Enough Sunshine for Vitamin D
Vitamin D play important roles in the body, including in the formation and remineralization of bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps in absorbing and assimilation of calcium the main mineral that strengthens teeth and bones in the body.
Therefore, spend some time in the sun to get vitamin D in the body. But in case you do not have the opportunity to enjoy sunshine, you can use supplements with advice from your doctor. You may also use supplements in case you are suffering severe vitamin D deficiency.
6. Avoid or Minimize Pythic Acid Foods
Avoid or minimize the use of certain foods that have Pythic acids. When such foods are consumed, the Pythic acid in them combines with other minerals such as manganese, zinc and iron to form other compounds which cannot be digested by the body.
These useful minerals pass out of your body since they cannot be digested. For this reason, Pythic acid is referred to as a mineral blocker. Pythic acid is found in certain plant foods including nuts, whole grains, and seeds. Beans and legumes.
White Spots on Teeth Before and After Removal Pictures
Here are some of the pictures of white spots on teeth before and after removal.
How to Prevent White Spots on Teeth
There are many measures you can take to prevent white spots on teeth. Basically, the measures are aimed at avoiding acids in mouth, preventing the formation of plaque on your teeth and ensuring availability of adequate minerals in teeth. These measures ensure that there is no demineralization and wear of the tooth enamel and hence the no formation of white spots on teeth.
- Minimize sugar in your Diet: Sugar makes your mouth acidic. It also contributes to the development of bacteria in your mouth. These conditions may lead to the formation of white spots on your teeth.
- Use other sweeteners: Instead of using sugar, you can use natural sweeteners like honey and dates and maple syrup, which do not cause the formation of plaque on your teeth.
- Include enough calcium in your diet: Ensure that your diet has adequate calcium rich foods like raw milk, kale Sardines and cheese. These foods will mineralize your teeth and hence prevent formation of white spots on them
- Drink adequate water: Drinking adequate water prevent dry mouth. Also, the water will help maintain supply of saliva in mouth to keep wet.
- Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after meals: This will remove any food particles from your teeth. This prevents the formation of plaque on them and hence avert the formation of white spots on teeth
- Minimize spicy and salty foods: These foods are known to contribute the formation of plaque in mouth and on teeth. Avoiding them will prevent plaque formation and hence prevent white spots on teeth.
- Avoid or minimize caffeine: The acid in caffeine may damage the enamel and demineralize it leading to the formation of white spots on your teeth. Avoid or minimize caffeine to prevent white spots on your teeth.
- Stop Drugs abuse: Avoid or minimize the use of tobacco and alcohol. They are known to be major causes of stains on teeth, including white spots.
- Use the right toothpaste: Select a toothpaste with the right amount of fluoride. Fluoride helps balance the pH level in your mouth but may be harmful if in excess. Generally, effective toothpaste contains 1,000 to 1,500 ppm of fluoride.
- Maintain proper oral hygiene: Maintain general cleanliness of your mouth and teeth. Brush and floss regularly, but at least twice per day to keep your mouth in good pH value and plaque free.
- Clean your teeth after using braces: This will prevent formation plaque in areas that are hard to rich because of obstruction by the braces. Hence white spots will not form on your teeth.
- Clean your teeth carefully when using teeth whitening stripes: This will drive all the contents of teeth whitening products out of your mouth, especially acids. The acid in these products contributes a lot to the formation of white spots on teeth.
- How to prevent white spots in toddlers and children: Assist them to follow these preventive measures. Keep an eye on them if they have learnt how to do it on their own. Bear in mind that they are more susceptible to the formation of white spots on their teeth and hence be extra cautious.