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Why You Have White Spots On Your Teeth

8 min read
by Dylan Hao |

Lately, you've been noticing that the color of your teeth is marred by little white dots. That’s not what you meant when you said you wanted a whiter grin.

So, what does it mean?

White spots on your teeth discolor the enamel, turning tiny areas on the tooth’s surface a different shade from the rest. While they aren’t harmful, they can hurt your self-esteem, and the cause of those white spot lesions could be something dangerous.

In this blog, we’ll explore the potential causes of enamel white spots, how to prevent them from worsening, and potential solutions to fix them and get your healthy teeth back.

Causes of White Spots on Your Teeth

To understand the cause of your discoloration, you must first understand what your tooth enamel is made up of. This material is 95% calcium and phosphorous combined in small crystals, making each tooth harder than bone. The remaining 5% is 4% water and 1% protein.

This combination of substances creates a translucent covering over the softer layers of dentin and pulp.

Decalcification and Its Causes

Although your enamel is clear, when it begins to thin, you can see the yellower dentin below the surface (which happens to most of us as we age). But in the case of lesions, those white spots are where your tooth is losing its minerals, a process called decalcification.

What causes this mineral decline?

There are many reasons, so let’s look at the most commonly seen to help you determine if any of these sound like they could be your white spot culprit.


You’ve heard of fluoride and may even have swished with those fluoride rinses in school when you were younger. It’s a mineral that’s a common ingredient in toothpaste and certain supplements, and it’s necessary for oral health and bone strength. 

But if you get too much of it in your system, fluoride can lead to tooth decay and white, yellow, or brown spots on your enamel, a condition called dental fluorosis.

Too much fluoride can happen when you:

  • Swallow toothpaste
  • Take too many supplements with fluoride in them
  • Drink fluoride-rich water

Before supplementing with fluoride or, conversely, cutting back on it in your fluoride toothpaste and other products, talk to your dentist to see how your teeth health currently fares. If fluoride isn’t the problem, don’t change your current routine.


In addition to fluoride, your teeth need other essential minerals to be healthy. Calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals keep enamel hard. But when your oral habits aren’t strong enough to counteract the bacteria in your mouth, these excess microorganisms form acids that erode the enamel. The erosion leaves behind white strains.

Decalcification is something to pay attention to, as it can lead to dental issues like:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Formation of caries (dental cavities)
  • Life-threatening infection at the tooth root

To keep your teeth strong, you need a combination of nutrients and proper oral hygiene.

Note that even if you brush and floss regularly, if you eat and drink a lot of sugary or acidic foods and beverages or take medication that is stripping your minerals, you may need to increase your daily oral hygiene routine. 

If the causes of this demineralization aren’t stopped, they will continue to progress. Always get regular dental checkups and cleanings to monitor your teeth and gums for signs of decline.

Nutritional Deficiency 

As we mentioned, your teeth need nutrients to be healthy. A poor diet, particularly one low in calcium, weakens your enamel and leads to tooth decay.

Nutritional deficiency can be extremely dangerous, depending on the nutrient you’re lacking. In the case of calcium deficiency, this missing mineral increases your risk factor for white spots due to the weakened enamel. 

As the enamel thins, it also opens your dentin. This porous layer of teeth is easily stained, so in addition to white spots, you’ll notice more yellow or brown teeth.

Beyond your oral health, calcium deficiency is also linked to:

  • Reduced bone strength
  • Osteoporosis
  • Other bone disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Certain cancers

Pregnant mothers with calcium deficiency may experience complications in their pregnancy.

Plaque Accumulation

When bacteria builds up from poor oral hygiene, it becomes dental plaque. This sticky film is easy to remove when soft, but over time, it gets hard and difficult to eliminate. 

With poor dental hygiene, dental plaque can breed bacteria and soften and weaken the enamel. This makes the once-hard surface easily eroded, leading to discoloration and gum disease.

Enamel Hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia is a dental condition characterized by teeth with less enamel than typical. It is informally called Turner's Tooth and is common in young children. Once the adult teeth come in, it’s rare, but it is possible.

Turner’s Tooth in children is usually caused by the mom’s poor nutrition or smoking during pregnancy and is characterized by premature birth. Adults can have this condition due to poor nutrition or certain medications, most notably strong antibiotics.

Because people with this condition have less enamel than they should, it takes more upkeep to ensure the layers they do have stay strong. Without ongoing, diligent care, enamel hypoplasia often leads to weakened teeth, cavities, and chips and cracks.


If you’ve recently had orthodontics removed, you may notice white lesions on your enamel. These spots are caused by plaque buildup behind the wires and braces.

Because it’s a challenge to get behind those tight spots, the plaque continues to build and harden, becoming brown or yellow calculus (tartar). Tartar leads to demineralization, which, as we now know, leaves behind white spots.

Learn more: 4 Ways to Restore Stained Teeth From Braces

Dental Treatments for White Spots

We’ve discussed the reasons behind these lesions and why you shouldn’t ignore the cause of the problem. 

But the white spots themselves aren’t dangerous. So, once you’ve addressed the underlying condition, there’s no need to worry about any existing areas.

However, if you feel insecure about them, there are various professional  treatment options to correct the discoloration, such as:

  • Enamel microabrasion: You’ve heard of this service to smooth your skin, but it’s also possible to microblade your teeth. This procedure is performed by specialists who remove the thin layer of discolored enamel from the surface of your affected teeth.
  • Professional teeth whitening: Over-the-counter whitening kits can be helpful for light surface stains, but deeper lesions require more intensive treatments. These are available at most dentists' offices, but you can order a high-quality, professional-grade whitening kit from JS Dental Lab for a more efficient, cost-effective solution.
  • Topical fluoride treatments: If your dentist has diagnosed your white spots as due to a lack of fluoride, they may suggest a professionally-applied topical fluoride treatment. These solutions usually consist of a high-strength rinse, gel, or foam, a fluoride varnish, or silver diamine fluoride.
  • Composite resin bonding: Composite resin dental bonding is a procedure performed by dentists to improve the appearance of your smile. A tooth-colored composite resin material is shaped and bonded to your discolored teeth to cover the white spots.
  • Dental veneers: Similar to composite resin bonding, dental veneers are cosmetic procedures that cover imperfections. However, unlike bonding, a veneer is not reversible. In this procedure, the dentist shaves a thin layer of enamel (the discolored spot) and adheres a wafer-thin shell in its place. This covers the discoloration and evens out your smile.

Because they’re considered cosmetic, these treatment plans are usually not covered by insurance. If you’d rather try to treat the white spots at home before you invest time and money in a professional solution, keep reading for our favorite at-home white spot treatments.

At-Home Treatment for White Spots

Depending on how severe the white spots have become, you may be able to smooth out the discoloration and get your white teeth back with one or more of these at-home remedies:

  • Oil pulling - Using a mild oil with lauric acid as an ingredient (such as coconut oil), gargle with two tablespoons for ten minutes (work your way up to this if necessary). Spit the oil out and rinse. The lauric acid and the oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties will help reduce the bacteria that cause the white spots.
  • Vinegar and baking soda remedies - Vinegar has an acidic property that, when used carefully, can remove white spots from enamel. Combine ¼ cup of vinegar and 1 tsp baking soda, mixing together to form a paste. Brush your teeth as normal, then rinse. Note that rinsing with vinegar, as some people suggest, can be dangerous due to the high amounts of acid in this liquid. This remedy should only be used once a week for a short-term fix.
  • Hydrogen peroxide - The active ingredient in most whitening kits is a low-dose form of hydrogen peroxide. This liquid has bleaching qualities. Mix ¼ cup of OTC hydrogen peroxide and ⅛ tsp of baking powder, and use the mixture to brush your teeth as usual.
  • Turmeric rinse - Mix a pea-sized amount of equal parts turmeric and lemon juice with a splash of salt. Use your clean fingers to rub the paste over your teeth for about two minutes, then rinse well.

These natural remedies might help, but if you’re looking for a safe and effective solution for more stubborn discoloration, our whitening kit from JS Dental Lab is both a professional and an at-home option.

It comes to you in the mail, so you can whiten your teeth while watching your favorite TV show. Our professional-grade ingredients ensure you get the best results possible, safely.

Preventative Options to Keep White Spots From Worsening

Now that you have a better idea of what’s causing your white spots, you want to stop them from worsening while trying to solve the main issue. Preventative changes in your daily routine go a long way toward keeping those lesions the same and stopping any spreading. 

Ready to take control of your teeth again?

Add these small habits to your day while you work with a specialist to fix the root cause of your white spots:

  • Eat healthy foods high in antioxidants and enamel-strengthening properties.
  • Avoid sugary or acidic foods or beverages.
  • Practice good oral hygiene with fluoride toothpaste (don’t swallow any if possible).
  • Monitor your fluoride exposure and avoid excess fluoride supplements or drinking tap water.

If your doctor says that you need more nutrients, whether fluoride, calcium, or something else, use supplements. Get regular dental care so your provider can monitor your dental health for warning signs of any changes.

With a little extra care and at-home or professional whitening solutions, you can have your old smile back — but a healthier version of it!


Those white spots on your teeth might be nothing major, or they could be a sign of a greater problem under the surface enamel. Determining the cause is important so you can find the right solution.

Whether it’s a cosmetic dentistry fix or a simple at-home oral hygiene upgrade, you don’t have to deal with those lesions forever. 

Check out our professional whitening kits at JS Dental Lab to regain your confident and healthy white smile!

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