When your little one’s teeth start to grow in, it can be strange to see anything out of the ordinary. After all, baby teeth are brand new, and most babies and toddlers mainly drink breast milk, formula, cow milk or dairy alternatives, and a relatively limited selection of solid foods, depending on their age. So you likely don’t expect any kind of discoloration or spotting.
For many parents, white spots are one of those out-of-the-ordinary things that may cause some alarm if you see them on your toddler’s teeth. If you want to know what causes white spots, how to deal with them, and when to see a dentist, check out this quick and helpful guide.
What are white spots on baby teeth?
Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are sometimes called “milk teeth” because they are brighter than adult teeth to begin with. White spots on baby or toddler teeth are a form of tooth discoloration that results in spots that are even more noticeably white.
You should never ignore any abnormal coloration on your child’s teeth. While they are sometimes harmless, they can be an early sign of tooth decay or a more serious issue. Because there are multiple contributors for white spots, understanding what they are is dependent on the underlying cause.
Common Causes for White Spots on Baby Teeth
Of the wide variety of causes of white spots on baby teeth, one of the most common is demineralization and weakening by acids that are present in breast milk or formula. The acids can stay on your baby’s teeth while sleeping, and create discoloration in the form of white spots.
If you notice that the spots have a chalky texture, this is most likely the cause. This can be an early sign of tooth decay, so it is important to brush these spots with a little extra care to ensure they do not progress into cavities. It is never too early to begin practicing good oral hygiene on your little one.
Other primary causes of white spots on your toddler’s teeth can include:
- Dental fluorosis, which is the appearance of white spots or streaks due to excessive fluoridation
- Enamel hypoplasia, which is thin enamel at birth that can cause the appearance of white or yellowish spots
- Certain medications, including antibiotics
There can also be other causes of white spots, including developmental issues occurring while the teeth are forming. In most cases, these spots should not get bigger as your child grows. You should always see a pediatric dentist for diagnosis and treatment of white spots or any discoloration you see.
Tips for Addressing White Spots on Your Toddler’s Teeth
Early dental care can play a key role in addressing and preventing tooth discoloration and other issues that can emerge. Schedule a visit with your dentist to confirm what kind of white spots your child has and what the best course of care and treatment is. A thorough dental examination, including X-rays in some cases, can determine whether the underlying cause is due to early demineralization, dental fluorosis, medication, enamel hypoplasia, or another cause.
In most cases, proper oral care and hygiene will be recommended. Your dentist or hygienist can give you and your little one tips and instructions to handle your specific needs. If a dental or cosmetic procedure is recommended to treat white spots, your dentist can give you detailed instructions and answer any questions you have.
At AC Pediatric Dentistry, we offer a range of dental treatments to prevent tooth decay in children, or to save or repair teeth when necessary. Cosmetic procedures are typically not recommended for baby teeth. For adult teeth with white spots, there are options including bonding, sealants, and cosmetic procedures that can help your little one have a happy and healthy smile.
Our caring and dedicated team is committed to helping everyone who comes to us for care feel safe, comfortable, and informed about their experience.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!