White spots on the teeth can occur from a variety of reasons. The most common causes of white spots are decalcification and fluorosis:
1. Decalcification is the loss of calcium from the teeth. This loss of calcium can occur when there is an excessive build up of plaque on the teeth for long periods of time. It is common for children with braces to develop decalcification around the brackets due to plaque build up. Frequent pop consumption or consumption of other acidic beverages can also cause decalcification. Decalcification shows up as chalky white spots on the otherwise smooth and shiny enamel.
2. Fluorosis occurs if the teeth are exposed to high concentrations of fluoride during their development. The risk of fluoride exposure occurs between the ages of 3 months to 8 years of age. Mild fluorosis appears the same as decalcification-chalky white spots on otherwise smooth and shiny enamel.
If white spots from either decalcification or fluorosis are less than .2mm in depth there is a polish that can work to remove the defects. The polish is a combination of a gentle whitening solution and an abrasive paste. It is safe to use as long as there is healthy enamel surrounding the white spots. The procedure is quick and painless. If you have white spots and would like to know if they can be polished away ask your dentist for an evaluation!