As you can see on the picture below, the black arrow indicates “white spots,” which first appear as dull white bands on the smooth surface of the tooth. While the red arrow indicates a cavity where the lesion has a progressed. White spots are often one of the firsts signs of tooth decay in children. This occurs as the result of enamel demineralization when acids from the plaque harm the tooth enamel. Some white spot lesions are signs of active tooth decay, while other white spots have a “chalky” appearance as the tooth is not as glossy as other teeth.
Children with white spot lesions are considered to be at a high risk for cavities. Don’t worry just yet, there are various ways to prevent these white spots from progressing. It is important to realize that the color will not change and it will continue to have a “chalky” appearance as long as it does not progress.
Treatment focuses on helping the affected teeth to re-calcify. The best and most effective way to re-calcify these areas is by the application of topical fluoride. Topical fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel. This can be accomplished by cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt with a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste. This should be done twice a day, after breakfast and then right before bedtime. Additionally at each dental visit a professional application of fluoride can be applied as the use of fluoride varnish has shown to consistently reduce caries.
Typically we monitor these white spot lesions and ensure the surface remains hard and intact. With improved brushing and flossing, as well as reducing sugar consumption and maintaining a well balanced diet, these white spots will not progress to soft brown or black spots which indicates an active cavity as id.
For more information on prevention of dental decay, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Growing Smiles in Floral Vale http://growingsmilespa.com/.
Weatherell J, Deutsch D, Robinson C, Hallsworth AS.Assimilation of fluoride by enamel throughout the life of the tooth. Caries Res 1977;11(2):85-115.
Beltrán-Aguilar ED, Goldstein JW, Lockwood SA. Fluoride varnishes: A review of their clinical use, cariostatic mechanism, efficacy and safety. J Am Dent Assoc 2000; 31(5):589-96.