White Spots On Teeth: 6 Causes, Treatments, & Prevention

Posted on July 13, 2021

Most people want to have a bright white smile, but occasionally teeth aren’t evenly colored. Some people have white spots on their teeth that don’t go away when they brush or floss. If your child’s teeth have these mystery spots, don’t panic — they’re not uncommon.

White spots on the teeth look like small patches of bright white color that are lighter than the rest of the tooth. Most are relatively small, although the patches can get quite large in some cases. Whatever their size, white spots can make people feel self-conscious about their smile.

Do white spots on teeth go away? White spots on teeth don’t go away on their own, but effective in-office and at-home treatments can make them less noticeable.

6 Potential Causes of White Spots On Teeth

White spots on teeth aren’t all caused by the same issue. Several different issues can create the spots, and usually, it takes a dentist to figure out exactly why they have appeared.

6 common causes of white spots on teeth include:

  1. Fluorosis
  2. Poor diet
  3. Demineralization
  4. Enamel hypoplasia
  5. Mouth breathing
  6. Braces that aren’t cleaned properly

1. Fluorosis

Fluorosis happens when children ingest too much fluoride when their teeth are developing, usually through drinking water, fluoride supplements, or accidentally swallowing toothpaste.

In mild cases, the excess fluoride causes white spots on the teeth. In more severe cases, brown patches and even small pits develop in the tooth enamel (outer tooth layer). Fluorosis usually isn’t painful, but severe cases can cause emotional distress because of how the teeth look.

Dental fluorosis is one of the many reasons why your family should avoid fluoride. Hydroxyapatite toothpaste works just as well as fluoride toothpaste without the nasty side effects.

2. Poor Diet

White spots on your teeth can also be caused by acidic foods and drinks eating away at the enamel of your teeth. If the acid sits on your teeth long enough, it will start to demineralize (break down) the enamel, which can change the color of that part of the tooth.

3. Demineralization

When the outer enamel starts to break down and demineralize, it can cause white spots to form. The outermost layer of enamel begins to lose hydroxyapatite crystals, the molecules made of calcium, phosphorus, oxygen, and hydrogen. These are the building blocks for teeth and bones.

Demineralization (also called decalcification) spots form when poor oral hygiene leads to plaque buildup. Plaque bacteria damage the enamel, creating a white spot and eventually a cavity.

4. Enamel Hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia is a condition where the teeth form with a layer of enamel that’s thinner than average. Patients with enamel hypoplasia will most often have brownish discolorations on their teeth, but white spots can also be a sign of thinly-formed enamel.

5. Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing causes significant damage to tooth enamel. When you breathe through your mouth, it dries up your mouth. This means your saliva isn’t there to protect your teeth and gums.

Your saliva helps remineralize your teeth in places where acid (including acid produced by plaque bacteria) has weakened the enamel. If mouth breathing dries up your saliva, it won’t be able to remineralize your teeth. A dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and/or white spots on the teeth.

6. Braces

When an orthodontist places braces on the teeth, they first glue brackets onto the teeth that hold the wire in place. The bracket attachment can actually cause discoloration of the teeth, particularly if you have poor dental hygiene.

Additionally, the area around brackets is a prime spot for plaque-causing bacteria to grow. If you don’t carefully remove plaque buildup around the orthodontic appliances, it can discolor your teeth and cause white spots. Eventually, this can lead to tooth decay.

What causes white spots on teeth? White spots on teeth are caused by fluorosis, eating acidic foods, demineralization, thin enamel (enamel hypoplasia), mouth breathing, or improper cleaning of braces.

Pictures Of White Spots On Teeth

White spots on teeth can vary in appearance, depending on the cause, size, and tooth structure. Some teeth have minor white marks that are barely noticeable, while others have a mottled appearance. Every case is unique.

Here are examples of white spots on teeth:

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A post shared by DMG America (@dmgamerica)

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A post shared by Dr. Inês Centeno (@dr.inescenteno)

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A post shared by Roxana Y. Solis Ortega (@dentista.roxsolis1)

Treatment Options For White Spots

If you feel embarrassed by the appearance of white spots on your teeth, there’s good news: white spots on teeth are pretty easy to treat. Most solutions are simple and painless and can be done easily by your dentist in their office. Just ask during one of your annual checkups.

Some dentists recommend teeth whitening or teeth bleaching to eliminate the appearance of white spots, but whitening isn’t an optimal treatment. The bleach solution contains harmful chemicals that contact your teeth and potentially your gums during the whitening procedure.

It’s best to use natural treatments for white spots instead of whitening treatments. The best treatments for white spots that don’t use a lot of noxious chemicals include:

  • Enamel Microabrasion: In enamel microabrasion, your dentist will apply a naturally occurring acid and gentle abrasive to your teeth and gently polish the surface of your teeth.
  • Remineralization: When white spots on teeth are caused by demineralization, remineralization with hydroxyapatite is the best solution.
  • Porcelain Veneers: If you have extensive damage to your tooth enamel or a large area of white spotting on your teeth, dental veneers may be a good option. Your dentist bonds a layer of porcelain on top of your teeth to improve their appearance.

How do you get rid of white spots on your teeth? You get rid of white spots on your teeth by restoring tooth enamel or gently polishing the surface of your teeth, depending on the root cause of the white spots

How To Prevent White Spots On Teeth

As a firm proponent of functional dentistry, I know it’s essential to treat the cause of dental health problems, not just the symptoms. Prevention is vital to your overall health and for preventing white spots on your teeth, too. The best ways to prevent white spots on teeth are:


Healthy tooth enamel is the biggest key to avoiding white spots on your teeth, and your diet is one of the best ways to support your tooth enamel. You need to eat plenty of calcium to help your body remineralize your enamel.

Your body also needs vitamins like vitamin D3, vitamin A, and vitamin K2 to absorb and use calcium. Make sure you’re eating a well-rounded diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein to get the nutrients you need to keep your teeth healthy.Proper diet is particularly important for young children who are still growing adult teeth. In many cases, white spots actually form while the teeth are developing. If your child gets the vitamins and minerals they need, they’ll be less likely to have white spots on their teeth.

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Good Oral Hygiene

Preventing plaque buildup can help prevent white spots from forming on your teeth, and it’s excellent for your dental health, too. Proper oral hygiene makes sure you keep your teeth and your gums healthy, which in turn keeps your entire body healthy.

Regular flossing and brushing knock back plaque-causing bacteria, reducing your chances of developing white spots at the same time. And, you’ll reduce your risk of getting cavities, too.

Restore and Protect Your Tooth Enamel

The health of your tooth enamel has a direct impact on the appearance of white spots on your teeth. While you’re brushing to remove harmful bacteria in your mouth, make sure you’re using hydroxyapatite toothpaste to protect and restore your enamel.

Unlike fluoride toothpaste, hydroxyapatite toothpaste won’t accidentally lead to more white spots on your teeth. Fluoride is neurotoxic and can negatively affect brain function and development in children. Hydroxyapatite is the same material your tooth enamel is made of — it’s 100% natural.

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Support Your Oral Microbiome

A healthy oral microbiome helps knock back plaque bacteria and yeast, which in turn helps support the health of your tooth enamel. Maintaining the good bacteria in your mouth can make sure plaque bacteria aren’t creating white spots on your teeth.

The best ways to support your oral microbiome are:

  • Brush with hydroxyapatite toothpaste.
  • Use a tongue scraper to help remove more harmful bacteria from your mouth.
  • Take an oral probiotic.
  • Add a gut probiotic to help your body absorb calcium and the vitamins it needs to remineralize your teeth.
  • Eat fermented foods, which help support the microbiome throughout your body.

When you have a healthy microbiome, your entire body functions optimally. Your microbiome will support the health of your teeth and tooth enamel, which can keep white spots on teeth from forming in the first place.

You have many options for both treating and preventing white spots in your teeth. Take care of that enamel and enjoy your healthier, happier smile.


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