Have you noticed white, splotchy patches on your teeth? Have you wondered if they are anything to be concerned about? It turns out they are something you should discuss with your dentist. But what are they?
What Causes White Spots?
These white spots on teeth are technically known as “white lesions,” and they can be a sign that your teeth are in trouble. They are the result of not enough enamel on the tooth – enamel is the outer layer of the tooth that protects the inner layers. White lesions can appear for a few different reasons:
- Enamel hypoplasia. In this condition, enamel is missing altogether or is very thin because of mineral loss due to nutritional deficiency. This deficiency can be caused by a medical condition such as celiac disease, or it can be the result of taking certain medications. Enamel hypoplasia can also occur in a child if a mom smoked while pregnant.
- Plaque buildup. White lesions can also be caused by plaque buildup, which is why it is important to get treated early if you see these white spots – they are early signs of cavities. Too much plaque can buildup on teeth because of poor dental hygiene.
- Diet. Sugary or acidic foods can wear down your tooth enamel and cause lesions. If your diet often causes acid reflux, this acid can also eat away at tooth enamel. Eating too many acidic or sugary foods can also make your teeth feel sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
- Fluorosis. This results when a person gets too much fluoride at the wrong stage of tooth development. We need fluoride for healthy teeth, but if a child around the age of 8 gets too much when their permanent teeth are coming in, it can cause the tooth enamel to weaken, which leads to discoloration and white lesions. Children can get too much fluoride if they often swallow fluoride toothpaste or if they drink too many fluoridated beverages.
Are you concerned about your teeth? Are they causing you pain? Contact the office of Samuel Jirik, DDS, Implant, Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Cabot, Arkansas, at (501) 843-9561 for an appointment today!