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All About White Spots on Your Teeth

What causes white spots?

White spot lesions (WSL) are areas that appear lighter than the surrounding tooth enamel.  These white spots appear because bacteria or food acids have been in contact with the tooth too long and started to dissolve the tooth surface. When bacteria sits on your teeth, it produces acids that can wear away the enamel. The enamel then becomes discolored and chalky.

WSLs are a common issue for people who have braces.  Braces can be challenging to clean around and trap food and bacteria around the teeth.  Whether you have braces or not, the good news is that WSLs can be prevented.

White spot lesions can be the first step towards tooth decay but are easily preventable with good oral hygiene, a healthy diet and regular dentist appointments.

How can I prevent white spots?

To prevent white spots, brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes, especially before bedtime.  Focus on the areas at the gum line or between the orthodontic brackets and gums where WSL’s are most common.  Make sure to floss at least once a day to remove plaque and debris from between your teeth.

A healthy diet is also important in preventing white spots.  Reduce the intake of acidic sugary food, drinks, and carbohydrates, which basically break down into sugar. If you can, brush after every meal or least rinse with water. In fact, when it is time to reach for a drink, make an effort to go for the water more often!  Many other drinks contain sugar or acids which will definitely contribute to white spot lesions.  And lastly, don’t forget to visit the dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and check-up.

What if I already have WSLs?

There are things you can do on your own or with your oral health care provider to take care of these spots.  You can help repair the enamel with regular brushing and flossing and using toothpaste with fluoride.

Your dentist can use a remineralizing agent or microabrasion to improve appearance and protect against decay.  Your dentist may also recommend a prescription fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen the enamel in the area of the WSLs.

Come see us for your child’s dental needs!

Cumberland Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics makes it easy for families to receive all-inclusive dental care under one roof.  If your child has issues with their teeth or just hasn’t had a check-up in a while, we would love to see them!  Call us today to make an appointment at any one of our Middle Tennessee clinics at 615-930-3720, or visit here to book online.

Author: Elizabeth Melvin, DMD – Orthodontist

Dr. Melvin attended the University of Georgia where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Psychology and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry where she received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.

You can read her full bio here. Dr. Melvin currently works at our White House office. Book your appointment online today!