What causes white stains on teeth?


There are a few different reasons white stains on teeth may be present.  Making a visit to your dentist and having them checked is always the best approach.

If the white spots have been present since childhood, it could be enamel hypoplasia.  Enamel hypoplasia is a condition that makes a tooth have less enamel than normal.  This cause for white stains on teeth usually occurs while the teeth are still forming.  Some causes are if your mother had some kind of infection during pregnancy, vitamin A, C, or D deficiencies, trauma to the tooth, or fluorosis.  In some severe cases treatment is needed, but most mild cases of enamel hypoplasia can be treated with good brushing and flossing habits at home, eating a good diet low in sugars, and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and fluoride treatments

White stains on teeth can also appear because of mineral loss in the tooth called hypo calcification.  The first stage of tooth decay is white stains on teeth.  When the process of tooth decay starts, white chalky areas begin to form on the surface of the tooth due to loss of calcium.  This stage is still reversible with good homecare and professional fluoride treatments from your dentist. 

Also, 10 to 20 percent of children in braces get white stains on teeth from poor homecare during their orthodontic treatment, or plaque forming along your gum line can appear to be white stains on teeth.  The solution for these causes is good brushing and flossing at home, along with professional cleanings and fluoride treatments from your dentist.  Are you noticing a pattern?!

What is fluoride anyway? 

Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in food and water.  Fluoride treatments help strengthen tooth enamel and repair any holes in it by replacing the nutrients that are lost overtime.  After your teeth have been exposed to fluoride, they tend to become more resistant to acid, making it less likely to get a cavity in the future. 

Here is an interesting fact for you.  Did you know that sharks cannot get cavities in their teeth?  It’s true!  Their carnivorous teeth may be terrifying, but they are also models of oral health.  Studies have shown that their outer coating of tooth, similar to our enamel, is made up of one hundred percent fluoride!  I guess that solves the mystery of how sharks maintain a cavity-free mouth!

If you ask any dental professional what the most important preventative product is to date, they will all answer fluoride.  Fluoride has been dentistry’s greatest success in preventing cavities.  The benefits of fluoride help keep teeth healthy and cavity free in many different circumstances.  Let’s say you are taking medications that cause you to have dry mouth.  A decrease in saliva increases your chances of getting cavities.  Fluoride treatments can help reduce the risk for decay in this population. 

Many patients suffer from sensitivity due to recession and root exposure, but professional fluoride treatments help make the root surface stronger, less sensitive, and more resistant to cavities.  Have you ever had crown or bridge work done?  Guess what?  A fluoride varnish treatment done every six months at your cleaning appointment helps protect the margins of these restorations.  This decreases the chances of getting recurrent decay around your crowns making your restorations last longer.  It is also the best treatment for any cause of white stains on teeth

There are many reasons our patient’s smiles are brighter under our dentist’s care, but one strong reason is how much we focus on preventative care.  Call and make an appointment to see one of our gentle dentists at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates at one of our three locations today!