What causes white spots on teeth?

03/11/2013

Have you ever noticed those unsightly white spots all over your teeth and wondered what causes them? 

We all like our pearly whites to look beautiful.  But sometimes white can be too white. The perfect example being those unnaturally bright spots that sometimes develop on your teeth.

And to the question: what causes these? We can tell you that the answer is in chemistry. Credit: Polka Dot

The outer layer of teeth is called enamel.  The enamel is the protective coating on healthy teeth. Enamel can be weakened by several different methods.

There are two types of white spots on teeth:

1. White spots from altered tooth eruption.  These spots are formed due to weakened enamel during tooth development.  Maybe you rolled over and hit your jaw and clenched your teeth together hard.  This form of micro-trauma may be enough to distort your tooth development and form white spots.
 

2. White spots from cavities. When you ingest food and drink, the pH (level of acidity) can drop below 5.5.  This is the critical threshold for disease to start – what we commonly hear referred to as cavities. In essence, this type of white spot is a precursor to a cavity.

If you are able to observe white spots, consult with your dentist to determine the cause(s). Some white spots can be removed and some cannot.

Consult with your dentist about the best options for you. You may also want to revisit your home care and nutrition practices.


Dr. Joe Kravitz is a dental expert who specializes in fixing people’s mouths with fillings, inlays, crowns, veneers, dentures and implants. He is on a quest to get people to think about oral health.

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