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What Do White Spots on Teeth Mean?
Have you ever gone to the doctor and reported that you had a cough? A “cough” is a little bit like white spots on your teeth when it comes to diagnostics. There are simply too many possibilities to make an accurate diagnosis based solely on this one symptom.
Suffice it to say, most folks like their teeth to be a uniform color. Before we get into why white spots occur, there are several possible dental interventions that can remove and prevent white staining to the teeth. Below, we’ll discuss white spots on the teeth and what they mean.
Causes of White Spots on Teeth
Essentially, decalcification of the tooth enamel results in white spots on your teeth. But there are numerous ways that this can happen and one of them is actually being over-vigilant in your approach to dental hygiene. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the root causes of white spots on the teeth.
- Fluorosis – Fluorosis is a real condition that results from fluoride poisoning. While there are some conspiracy theories related to fluoride, it is toxic at high doses. Those who live in places where the water is fluoridated will need to be more careful about the types of dental interventions they employ. Fluoride is good for dental hygiene in the correct doses because it strengthens tooth enamel.
- Tooth decay – Generically, tooth decay includes the presence of plaque and tartar where bacteria live. The bacteria will feed on sugary leftovers in your mouth and produce an acid as a byproduct that causes the erosion of tooth enamel. This can result in decalcification which causes white spots on the teeth.
- Diet – Your diet can influence just about everything. Calcium is a mineral that is required for the healthy development of bones and teeth. If your diet is too low in calcium, it could result in your teeth not having enough enamel which will look like white spots.
- Genetics – Some people are born with a condition known as enamel hypoplasia which simply means there isn’t enough enamel. A lack of enamel will present as white spots in the teeth.
In each of these examples, the process that causes white spots on the teeth is decalcification. It means there isn’t enough calcium to support strong tooth enamel. Tooth decay, poor diet, genetics, and medications can cause decalcification.
Preventing White Spots on Teeth
Preventing white spots requires dentists to determine the cause of the decalcification. Typically, this means changes to diet or oral hygiene that produce better results. Avoiding sugary or acidic foods is especially important. Likewise, determining if your local tap water is fluoridated can help prevent fluorosis.
For those concerned about white spots on their teeth, veneers or tooth treatments are successful at eliminating the blemishes.