White spot lesions are a visual indication of an early stage of tooth decay. They have an opaque and chalky-white appearance, are found on the surfaces of teeth and are generally surrounded enamel that is much lighter in color; thus, making them stand out.
White spot lesions are generally most prevalent in those who have braces, and studies have shown that 85% of patients with braces will typically develop these lesions. Read more to explore the underlying cause behind its development and treatment options that are available.
White spot lesions are caused by teeth demineralization, which is a process that happens when the mineral content within the teeth is exposed to an acidic environment. The acid is produced by bacteria that are found in the mouth and live within the dental plaque. These bacteria feed off of dietary sugars and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid then causes the demineralization and white spot lesions will form.
As a result, if you see white spot lesions, you can safely assume that your teeth is demineralizing and its structure and stability is compromised. It is important to take action immediately in order to prevent your dental condition from worsening. If teeth demineralization is not corrected early on, the damage may be irreparable as it worsens.
The presence of the white spot lesions is an indication that the teeth are demineralizing; however, this does not necessarily mean that the structure and condition of your teeth is severely compromised yet. You can still turn things around by preventing the situation from worsening and correcting the lesions that have already formed through implementing preventive measures. Below are some of the common treatment options available:
- develop and maintaining good oral hygiene. By brushing and flossing regularly and effectively, you can prevent the white spot lesions from worsening. Some dentists may recommend using an electronic toothbrush instead of a regular one, as it may be more effective.
- make healthier dietary changes. As mentioned, these bacteria feed and strive off of dietary sugars. Limit your carbohydrate diet by staying away from soft drinks, candy, and other foods that are high in sugar content.
- get fluoride treatments. Use fluoride treatments to get rid of the white spot lesions or prevent them from worsening. Fluoride can easily strengthen the condition of your teeth, as it forms a barrier over the surface. Also, consider switching from regular toothpaste to ones that contain fluoride. Studies have shown that 45% of people who use regular toothpaste develop white spot lesions in comparison to 34.6% of people who opted for high-fluoride toothpaste.
- have regular dental appointments. The bacteria that are responsible for creating the acid that causes white spot lesions reside in the plaque. Most dentists recommend scheduling your dental appointments every 6 months, as this is typically when new plaque will begin to accumulate on the surfaces of the teeth and cause problems.
Most white spot lesions do not need to be treated or require further repair, especially if only a minimal amount of teeth is affected. Teeth remineralization may be able to solve the existing white spot lesions with time. If the white spot lesions have caused the teeth surface to become rough, pitted or even damaged, such as the presence of a hole, then it may need to be filled to prevent the demineralization from further worsening. This only happens in worst-case scenarios.
If you wear braces, then you will want to keep an eye out for white spot lesions. If you catch the problem early on, then it will be easy for your dentist to correct and repair.