White spots on gums are not only seen in teeth but also in other parts of body such as feet, hands, face, ears etc. They are very common in children and adults. Most of them do not cause any harm to human health and they may even have some benefits. However there are cases when these white spots appear on teeth causing problems or even leading to tooth loss.
What are White Spots?
White spots on gums are actually caused by bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria live in the mouth and sometimes even in other parts of body like feet, hands, face, ears etc. When they grow out of control they form white spots on teeth. These white spots are usually found at the back of your mouth and around your lower front teeth (if you have those).
How Do White Spots Affect Teeth?
When white spots on gums appear, it causes some kind of damage to your teeth. If left untreated, these white spots can lead to tooth loss. This condition is known as dental caries. Caries can also lead to sensitivity in teeth because when the white spots eat through your tooth, nerve of your tooth is exposed and that’s what causes sensitivity. Dental caries can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to prevent tooth decay:
– Brush your teeth regularly using toothpaste and floss at least twice a day. This will help to keep the bacteria in your mouth under control.
– Don’t consume too much of sugary foods or drinks. This will increase the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
– Visit your dentist on a regular basis for a check-up and cleaning.
What do White Spots on Gums Look Like?
White spots on gums are usually small and have a flat surface. They can also appear in groups. The color is the same as your teeth. If they appear on your front teeth then it is very noticeable. Some people have few white spots on their teeth that are not very noticeable. They can only be seen when you smile or open your mouth wide.
What Do White Spots On Gums Look Like?
They can be in different shapes but the most common ones are oval, round and irregular shaped.
Can You Get Rid of White Spots?
There are some over the counter products that can help you to get rid of small white spots on your teeth. These products usually contain some ingredients that can eliminate the bacteria that is causing the problem. However if you have severe tooth decay, you should see your dentist right away for treatment.
Can You Prevent White Spots?
Yes, there are some steps that you can take to prevent these white spots on teeth. First of all, try to avoid eating too much sweets or foods that are high in sugar. Also, do not wait for long time before you brush your teeth after eating or drinking anything. Try to visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleaning and check-up.
What Happens If I Ignore White Spots On Teeth?
If you ignore the problem, then the bacteria found in your mouth will continue to grow. In this case, a condition known as dental caries can appear which can cause serious problems. However it is better to go and seek treatment immediately after noticing any white spots on gums because early detection and treatment can help you from causing more teeth damage.
If you are not sure about the condition of your teeth and gums, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Prevention is always better than cure so it is always a good idea to keep up preventive maintenance on your teeth.
This will help to detect problem early if they develop and avoid major dental problems down the line.
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Further Reading: What Causes Brown Spots On Teeth – Causes, Treatment and Prevention
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, you can find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about white spots on gums. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.
What Are The Causes Of The White Spots?
White spots on the teeth can appear due to a number of different reasons. Most of the time they are caused by your teeth coming into contact with something that has a high level of acids in it. This could be wine, fruit juice, soft drinks and many other common things that we eat or drink on a daily basis.
These acids tend to damage the enamel layer of your teeth which can cause a yellow stain to appear. These stains can become more noticeable over time and eventually lead to small white spots on teeth as more of the enamel is worn away.
In some cases, the acids may even get deep into the tooth leading to a loss of calcium in that area. This can cause the appearance of small holes or pockets in the tooth enamel which is what we know as white spots on teeth.
In addition to eating and drinking certain acidic foods and drinks, there are some medical conditions that can also cause white spots on teeth. The most common of these is a condition known as hypocalcaemia or low blood calcium levels.
This is more commonly encountered in women than men and causes the enamel layer to become softer and more prone to damage.
How Do I Get Rid of White Spots On Teeth?
If you are suffering from small white spots on teeth caused by an acidic food or drink or a medical condition, then the best way to get rid of them is to change your diet and ensure that you do not ingest anything with high levels of acid. You should also use some kind of product that helps to remineralize your enamel.
The most common home remedy that people use to get rid of white spots on teeth is baking soda. You should mix a small amount of baking soda in some water to create a paste, then apply it to the damaged area of the tooth.
After 5-10 minutes you should rinse and clean your mouth with some water. This treatment should be repeated 2-3 times daily for 2 weeks and should begin to improve the appearance of your enamel and get rid of the white spots on teeth.
If this doesn’t work then consult your doctor who may prescribe a stronger remineralizing solution.
Are White Spots On Teeth Permanent?
White spots on teeth aren’t actually a condition in their own right. Instead, they are a sign that there is some damage or trauma to the tooth that has caused a loss of calcium from that area. Over time, this loss of calcium leads to the appearance of white spots on teeth and something more serious if the condition is left unattended.
It is possible to get rid of white spots on teeth through diligent tooth care and home treatment as mentioned above. Once the trauma has been reversed, these spots should disappear over time as the natural tooth color returns.
If you have small holes or ‘caves’ in your enamel then it may take longer for the calcium to return and the hole to be repaired so these may persist for much longer.
Can White Spots Cause Pain?
The appearance of small white spots on teeth, especially if they are confluent, should never be ignored as they can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. One of the most common reasons for small white spots is the appearance of dentin behind the enamel. The dentin layer normally lies hidden behind the enamel and shouldn’t be exposed but a loss of calcium in that area of the tooth will lead to it becoming visible. The dentin layer is living tissue and so will react to stimuli such as hot and cold in the same way as the enamel.
If you have white spots on your teeth that cause pain when eating something cold or hot then this is a sign that there may be a more serious problem that needs to be addressed by a dentist.
Other Causes of White Spots on Teeth
There are other possible causes of white spots on teeth that can appear as a white color but these are much rarer and should be dealt with by a dentist. One such condition is a condition known as ‘mutton horns’ that appears in the front of the mouth, while milk teeth that haven’t grown out properly can appear as white spots in the rear of the mouth.
Both of these conditions require treatment by a dentist.
Another condition that may lead to the appearance of white spots on teeth is fluorosis. This is caused by an excess of fluoride in your system that affects the developing tooth enamel while still in the womb.
The exact mechanism of how this happens isn’t fully understood but if you suffer from it then it will lead to a mottling or staining of the teeth rather than white spots appearing.
Can You Prevent White Spots on Teeth?
You can take a number of steps to prevent the condition of having white spots on teeth though many of these revolve around taking care of your teeth overall. By brushing your teeth regularly and flossing daily you can ensure that there is no build up of plaque or tartar on your teeth as this is one of the leading causes of tooth decay as well as white spots on teeth.
It is also important to try and avoid sugary or acidic drinks and foods as much as possible. These kinds of products cause a loss of calcium in the teeth which weakens them leading to a greater chance of damage and the potential for white spots on teeth to appear.
If you have to consume sugary or acidic products, try to do so through a straw to minimize contact with the teeth.
Finally, it is important to visit your dentist on a regular basis. In addition to dealing with any potential problems with your teeth such as decay or white spots, a dental visit will allow your dentist to identify any other potential issues with the rest of your mouth or other areas of your body that may need attention.
Can White Spots Be Removed?
While it is possible to treat the underlying cause of white spots on teeth such as treating any decay or addressing any issues with your diet, it is not possible to get rid of the spots themselves. Once enamel has been lost it will not grow back.
The only option available for treating white spots is to cover them up using a dental bonding procedure or by applying toothpaste or mouthwash that has a whitener in it.
How Much Do They Cost To Repair?
The average price for having a dental bonding procedure done ranges from $50-$350 though the exact price will depend on your specific requirements and whether you have any other issues with your teeth at the time of treatment.
While it is possible to use over the counter products in an attempt to whiten your teeth, these are not generally effective as they are designed to be used over a long period of time rather than producing instant results. These treatments also have a tendency to cause severe tooth decay due to the length of time they are kept in contact with the teeth.
How Long Does It Take?
Unless you have extensive dental work required, a dental bonding procedure should only take around one visit to your dentist. A dental bonding procedure is essentially a quick way of fixing any minor chips or cracks that may have developed in your teeth as well as applying a thin coating of composite resin to your tooth to provide a uniform colour and fill in any gaps or discolouration.
As a result it should only take around one appointment and a few hours of your time in most cases though if you have extensive work required such as a full rebuild of the tooth or multiple teeth, the procedure may take longer.
What Is Involved?
The first step in a dental bonding procedure is for your dentist to provide you with a local anesthetic. This is so you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. The next step involves preparing your tooth for the procedure. This involves clipping away any parts of the tooth that have suffered severe damage and exposing the inside of the tooth so that it can be properly treated and the dental resin can properly adhere to the surface.
Your tooth will then be etched so that the resin can better bind to it after which the resin is applied and shaped to fit the surface of your tooth. Finally a curing light is used to harden and dry the resin so that it has set and cannot be altered or damaged.
After this your dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions and you should be good to go.
What Are The Side Effects?
The only real side effect of a dental bonding procedure is that the teeth can feel unnatural to the touch for a while and may even have a slight odour or taste. This will generally fade over time however in some cases it can last for weeks or months. In some cases a local anesthetic may also cause temporary numbness near the treated tooth or teeth though this is rare.
Does It Work?
Dental bonding is a very effective procedure for fixing small chips and cracks in your teeth as well as covering up stains or other discolouration in your teeth. It can also be used to reshape your teeth if minor adjustments are needed though it cannot be used to move teeth.
If you have a gap in your teeth that is large enough that it affects your bite or interferes with the use of your mouth, a dental bonding procedure is not likely to help you. You will instead need to speak with your dentist about having an implant or a bridge fitted.
How Much Does It Cost?
As with most dental procedures, the cost of a dental bonding procedure is going to vary depending on your specific needs as well as where you receive treatment. On average however a dental bonding procedure should cost between $600 and $2500. The procedure is not going to be covered by health insurance as it is considered a cosmetic treatment though some providers may include it as part of a routine check-up.
For people who do not have health insurance or have had their coverage restricted, a dental bonding procedure may be more affordable through the services of a community clinic. These clinics will offer treatment at significantly reduced costs for people who need but cannot afford private health insurance.
What Are My Options?
If you are looking to get a dental bonding procedure, your main options are going to be whether to do it on the NHS or as a private treatment. As mentioned previously dental bonding is not normally included in standard NHS check-ups so you are going to have to specifically request a treatment if you want it and this may affect the cost.
Some people also choose to have their procedure done on the NHS and then pay privately if they want certain additional procedures carried out such as teeth whitening. This can help you get the treatment you need without incurring massive costs all at once.
You can also choose to see a cosmetic dentist who will be able to provide you with a wide range of procedures from teeth whitening to dental implants if needed. These dentists tend to cost more than general dentists but their services are often more comprehensive and many also offer interest free payment plans to make the treatment more affordable for people without health insurance.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effect of after-meal sucrose-free gum-chewing on clinical caries by J Szöke, J Banoczy, HM Proskin – Journal of dental research, 2001 – journals.sagepub.com
The red gum lerp psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei, a new exotic pest of Eucalyptus camaldulensis in Italy by S Laudonia, AP Garonna – Bulletin of Insectology, 2010 – researchgate.net
The use of sorbitol-and xylitol-sweetened chewing gum in caries control by BA Burt – The Journal of the American Dental Association, 2006 – Elsevier