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David M. Rizk, DDS

What Causes White Spots on Teeth?

added on: February 22, 2022

David M. Rizk, DDSIf you see white spots on your teeth, you might wonder what they mean and whether or not you should be worried about them. Rest assured that many times, white spots on teeth are harmless. However, white spots on teeth can occasionally indicate an underlying condition that could eventually cause more serious problems if left untreated. How do you know the difference? Start by talking with your dentist in El Paso to find out what you need to know about white spots on teeth and how to treat them properly.

Fluorosis

Fluorosis is a condition that affects children but the effects can last into adulthood. It’s caused by exposure to too much fluoride. Even though fluoride is a naturally occurring element and is safe and effective in strengthening enamel and preventing cavities, it is possible to have too much of it. This usually occurs when someone uses too many forms of fluoride. In fact, research has shown that too much exposure to fluoride during tooth development can cause fluorosis in children. The best way to make sure a child is getting just the right amount of fluoride is to talk with your dentist or doctor. 

Treatment for Fluorosis

The good news is that if your white spots were caused by fluorosis in childhood, your dentist in El Paso has many different options to help. Some treatments may include porcelain veneers or a whitening treatment. 

Hypoplasia

Another potential explanation behind white spots on teeth is hypoplasia. This condition can occur when someone’s enamel does not form properly. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as smoking during pregnancy, not getting enough necessary nutrients, some medications and medical conditions, and tooth trauma. As with fluorosis, hypoplasia usually doesn’t need to be treated, but there are some options available. 

Treatment for Hypoplasia

Treatment options for hypoplasia are also similar to those for fluorosis such as teeth whitening and veneers. Talk to your dentist in El Paso about which option may be best for you. 

Poor Dental Hygiene

We should all brush and floss our teeth every day. If we don’t, we increase our risk of developing cavities and other oral health problems, including the development of white spots on teeth. Not taking proper care of teeth can lead to something called demineralization, which is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria can weaken the enamel over time and cause white spots to appear (brown spots are also possible). 

Treatment for Demineralization

Your dentist will continue to monitor your oral health for any cavities at your dental checkups. If you’re free of cavities, you won’t need any treatment. However, you should be more diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth every day. 

There are numerous things that cause white spots to appear on your teeth. It’s always wise to talk with your dentist about any new spots you notice so we can make sure there are no underlying problems. Usually, there aren’t many concerns associated with white spots, but if you want to remove them, make sure to mention that at your next appointment.


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