How to Prevent White Spots

Smith & Heymann Orthodontics is all about empowering our patients with the info and the tools that they need to get and maintain a fantastic smile.

To that end, we’ve noticed that some of you have been concerned about white spots on your teeth. You’ve probably wondered something along the lines of – what are those things? How do they form? and, maybe most importantly, how do I get rid of them? 

We’ve asked Dr. Smith & Dr. Heymann to answer those questions and much more, so read below to find out! 

So What Are White Spots? 

You’re probably wondering – what the heck even are those white spots on my teeth? 

It is definitely question No. 1 on most people’s minds. You wake up one day, look in the mirror, and suddenly notice your teeth are covered in spots! EEK!

Well, it turns out there are a number of different causes for those annoying white spots on teeth. Don’t worry; we can treat all of them! 

Cause #1 – Demineralization

Also known as decalcification, this is the process by which the mineral content (primarily calcium and phosphate) of the tooth structure is lost, leading to the breakdown of the tooth enamel and dentin. This is the most common cause of white spots. This can occur because:

  • Bacteria in the mouth produce acids as they metabolize sugar and other carbohydrates. EXAMPLE: Sports Drinks, Soda, Candy, some Juices
  • The mouth’s pH becomes too acidic, allowing for the dissolution of these minerals.
  • certain medications and medical conditions that can affect saliva or dry mouth
  • In some cases, external factors such as excessive brushing or environmental factors

Cause # 2 – Enamel Hypoplasia 

Enamel hypoplasia is a more uncommon condition that causes a thin or absent enamel covering on the teeth. It affects roughly one in every 14,000 people and tends to appear during childhood or early adulthood. Enamel hypoplasia can develop due to a number of different issues, such as having an improper or incomplete diet, experiencing a high fever during an illness, smoking while pregnant, premature birth, certain medications, or a traumatic tooth injury.

Cause #3 – Fluorosis 

Fluorosis is a condition resulting from too much exposure to fluoride during tooth development. In the case of mild exposure, it can occasionally lead to the formation of those little white spots we love so much. 

Fluoride is a mineral found in water, soil, and some foods. While fluoride is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay, and it’s even intentionally added to most tap water sources for the public good, excessive exposure can lead to fluorosis. This tends to occur during childhood when the teeth are still developing.


Smith & Heymann Orthodontics is all about empowering our patients with the info and tools they need, so let's discuss white spots.

Okay, so what do I do about it? 

Now that you know a few causes of those white spots on your teeth, let’s get down to it – what do we do to avoid them? 

Method #1 – Practice good oral hygiene! 

You should be doing this anyway! For many of the common causes of white spots, particularly demineralization, a surefire way to avoid those unsightly white spots is to have a solid oral hygiene routine that you practice daily. This means brushing at least twice daily for at least two minutes per session, but to be more thorough, brush after each meal and snack. Be sure and brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and keep the bristles at a 45-degree angle while brushing. This ensures that you get the most out of each session. Don’t forget to floss!

Double-check the area between your bracket and gums for food and plaque!  This is the most common area missed and, because of that, the MOST common area for white spots to occur! 

Method #2: Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks – THE MOST OVERLOOKED REASON!

Dr. Smith and Dr. Heymann’s most common conversation with a customer on white spots tend to go a little something like this: 

Mom: My child doesn’t drink soda; why is he/she getting white spots?

Dr. D: Does your child drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade? 

Mom: Yes, but only for sports.

Dr. D: One regular Gatorade has the sugar equivalent of almost four Krispy Kreme Donuts. Just one. So, while moderation is okay, your child should either brush directly after drinking a sports drink or limit it to one/per week.  

Mom: Wow!

Dr. D: Also, sugary drinks should not be consumed over a longer period.  The sugar has longer to sit there, attack your teeth, and create white spots. 

These drinks increase the acidity in the mouth and lead to demineralization. In turn, this leads to those white spots! A good rule of thumb when it comes to sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks is at most one liter per week for adults or at most eight to 12 ounces per week for children and young teens. Even DIET soda is very acidic, so replacing regular soda with diet will not help.  All soda can cause white spots.

Method # 3 – Fluoride Treatment 

Assuming that your white spots aren’t caused by fluorosis (in which case, this is definitely not the treatment for you!) Dr. Smith or Dr. Heymann may recommend fluoride treatments to attempt to minimize your white spots. This is particularly effective if you suffer from enamel hypoplasia or similar disorders.

Smith & Heymann Orthodontics is all about empowering our patients with the info and tools they need, so let's discuss white spots.

Call Today for a Free Consultation! 

Now that we know what those white spots are, let’s work hard on bruising and our diet to avoid these unsightly marks.  If you aren’t a patient, with or without white spots, it’s time to set up your free consultation with Smith & Heymann Orthodontics today! 

We have the expertise and the technology to handle any orthodontic problems you may have, and that includes white spots. Not only that, but we love getting to know our neighbors here in Chapel Hill, Durham, Mebane, Roxboro, and everywhere in between and helping them unlock the best possible smiles they can have. Let’s unlock yours now!