Perhaps you are thinking about tooth whitening to deal with the stains on your teeth – but what if you don’t have food stains, but instead have white spots on your teeth? It turns out these aren’t just stains; they could be a sign of a serious problem with your teeth.
What Are Those Spots?
These spots, which are very noticeable because they are a big contrast against the duller color of your teeth, are known as “white spot lesions” to dentists. They may seem harmless, but there are a few reasons why you might have them:
- Enamel hypoplasia. Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth, and it helps to protect the inner layers. In enamel hypoplasia, the enamel becomes very thin. It can happen in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, and it can also be the result of mineral loss because of nutritional deficiency, which can occur because of celiac disease.
- Plaque. White spot lesions are a sign that a cavity is beginning to form, which happens when plaque accumulates on teeth. This may be because of poor oral hygiene habits, or it may be difficult to get teeth thoroughly clean when wearing braces, for example.
- Fluorosis. This is typically a concern for children who are younger than 8 who are getting too much fluoride. Too much fluoride at the wrong stage of tooth development can cause this discoloration. A child may get too much fluoride by swallowing fluoride toothpaste or by drinking too many fluoridated beverages.
- Your diet. Your tooth enamel may be worn down after years of eating foods that are high in sugar or are very acidic. Another sign that your enamel is eroding is sensitivity to hot and cold beverages and food.
- Your health. Health conditions such as acid reflux can be bad for your teeth, as acid in your mouth can eat away at tooth enamel.
White spot lesions may indicate the beginning of a cavity – or even worse problems. If you notice these spots, if your teeth hurt, or if it’s just time for a cleaning, contact Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry in Pound Ridge, New York. Call 914-764-3540 for an appointment today!