White Spots Kids Teeth
If you’re a parent, your child or children may have white spots on their teeth. These white spots can occur for several reasons, and some of these reasons are genetic. When white spots appear on the teeth for external reasons, they can often be repaired with external solutions. When they are genetic, they affect the teeth as they’re developing in utero, or inside the womb, and will require different treatment. Your child’s pediatric dentist can examine their teeth and discern the best solution for the issue.
Sometimes, white spots are caused by active tooth decay. They can also appear because of exposure to large quantities of fluoride, or because of a systemic mineral imbalance. Taking certain medications can also cause white spots to form on the teeth. Some children may develop white spots on their teeth that are caused by a condition called enamel hypoplasia; these spots may also appear as yellow or brown spots or stained areas.
When spots on a child’s teeth have been diagnosed as indications of tooth decay, a pediatric dentist will repair the dental decay with a tooth-colored dental resin, correcting the discoloration while restoring the teeth to health. The most common cause of tooth decay is poor oral hygiene. Bacterial plaque builds up on the teeth when it is not properly removed with regular brushing and flossing, and, as it sits on the teeth, it can eat through tooth enamel and form a dental cavity. Be sure to care for your child’s oral and dental health when they are too young to do so on their own, and work with their pediatric dentist and dental hygienist to help them develop healthy habits. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and seeing the dentist regularly are all important factors in establishing and maintaining a lifetime of oral and dental health.
If a child’s permanent teeth have spots on them but their primary teeth weren’t discolored, this could be because of excessive fluoride. The permanent teeth begin to develop in the jaw at around the age of three, and if the child is exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride in childhood, it could cause the permanent teeth to emerge with white spots on them. This can be the case for older children who received supplemental fluoride when they were younger, and the condition is called fluorosis. When children grow up in areas with municipal water providers, the water is fluoridated and additional fluoride supplements are rarely needed, though they may be beneficial in areas where water is unfluoridated.
Your child’s pediatric dentist will conduct a thorough dental examination that includes an interview to learn about external factors, like water sources. When the teeth are spotted because of tooth decay or decalcified dental enamel, prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the teeth from further damage. When the problem is solely cosmetic, the discoloration can be treated with bonding resin that covers the stain. This and other cosmetic treatments are rarely recommended for the primary teeth, but they can make a world of difference for an adolescent who may already be struggling with self-esteem.