Why Do I Have White Spots on My Teeth?

Why Do I Have White Spots on My Teeth?

Enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth. Composed primarily of minerals, it protects the dentin and pulp inside and shields the more sensitive parts of your teeth from the environment.

Enamel is durable, but damage can happen — and discoloration in the form of white spots is a common complaint. These spots can make your smile look dingy and, unfortunately, signal an underlying dental issue, like decay.

Emmanuel Aguilar, DMD, and our team at American Dental Clinic in San Diego, California, offer comprehensive dental care and work with patients to achieve bright, healthy smiles. 

If you’re bothered by white spots on your teeth, here’s what you need to know.

Possible causes of white spots on teeth

Enamel is naturally white, but dental issues can lead to spots brighter and whiter than the rest of your teeth. Common causes of these frustrating white spots include:

Plaque buildup and tooth decay

The most common cause of white spots is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss thoroughly every day, plaque accumulates on your teeth.

The bacteria in plaque produce acid that erodes enamel and leads to decalcification. Decalcification is when the minerals in tooth enamel disappear, leaving behind white spots.

Sometimes, diet can be a factor. Even if you practice good oral hygiene, consuming acidic foods and beverages can accelerate decalcification and decay.

Orthodontic treatment

Many people notice white spots on their teeth after orthodontic treatment, particularly when they get braces removed. White spots left behind after wearing braces usually result from the difficulty cleaning around the brackets and wires, causing buildup and potential decalcification.

Dental fluorosis

Dental fluorosis results from excessive fluoride intake during tooth development. Fluoride is essential for dental health, but too much can discolor enamel. This condition starts in childhood when children consume high levels of fluoride in water, toothpaste, and other sources.

Enamel hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia is characterized by underdeveloped enamel, manifesting as white spots on teeth. This developmental issue may be influenced by malnutrition, illness during tooth development, or certain medications taken during childhood.

Treatment options for white spots on teeth

White spots can be unsightly and could mean changes to your oral health care habits are in order. So if you notice white spots on your smile, schedule a visit with Dr. Aguilar and our team.

We can evaluate your oral health to uncover the cause of the white spots, then develop a treatment plan to tackle them. First and foremost, good oral hygiene is key to preventing and addressing white spots on teeth.

Regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings help maintain enamel health and reduce your risk of worsening white spots. We might also recommend:

Topical fluoride

Dr. Aguilar may suggest topical fluoride treatments if you have mild decalcification. These treatments help remineralize enamel to restore its strength and appearance.

Dental bonding

Dental bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the affected teeth. The resin covers the white spots and gives you natural-looking results without more invasive treatments.


Microabrasion is a minimally invasive dental procedure to remove a thin layer of enamel, including the white spots. This procedure can improve the appearance of your teeth, and we often combine it with teeth whitening for a more dramatic effect.

Porcelain veneers

In more severe cases, Dr. Aguilar may suggest porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin shells custom-made to cover the front surfaces of your teeth, making them a long-lasting cosmetic solution for white spots.

Bothered by white spots on your teeth? Get a customized treatment plan at American Dental Clinic and enjoy a more confident smile. Call us at 858-215-2951 or book your consultation online today.

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