Many people notice that their teeth are not the shining shade of white that they would prefer. In fact, they may even be speckled with several different colors ranging from chalky white spots to yellow-brown hues. It could be the first sign of a developing condition known as hypocalcification, and you should be paying attention to what this could mean for your mouth long-term.
What is hypocalcification and how is it treated? Learn everything you need to know in this quick guide.
What is Hypocalcification?
Are you starting to notice small white spots developing on your otherwise stained or yellowed teeth? This could be the first sign of hypocalcification. This condition, sometimes commonly referred to as chalky spots, develops when the acids in your mouth begin to dissolve the calcium. The tooth enamel weakens as the calcium is drained from the tooth, causing these chalky white areas to become prominent on the tooth.
Hypocalcification is a clear indicator that your body does not have enough calcium. While you will still have enamel covering the surface of the tooth, it is weak in these areas where the surface appears either opaque or chalky.
Unfortunately, age is not a discriminating factor when it comes to this condition. It is common in baby teeth as well as adult teeth. There is a possible genetic link that may leave some individuals more susceptible to its development than others. Amelogenesis imperfecta is a group of rare disorders that relate to the strength of tooth enamel and could play a role in the development of hypocalcification.
It is even quite possible that individuals with certain disorders may be more prone to developing this condition. The medications used to treat conditions like epilepsy and asthma may impact the strength of tooth enamel and lead to chalky spots.
Last but not least, consuming too much fluoride during the early childhood years can also play a role in the development of hypocalcification. It has been linked to spotted teeth that very closely resemble the chalky spots associated with this condition.
How to See Chalky Spots
Identifying chalky spots on your teeth is generally pretty easy, even for those who are not professionals. We have an ingrained image in our mind of what healthy teeth are supposed to look like, so deviations from that standard are easy to spot. Hypocalcified teeth typically have a chalky or creamy appearance to them that differs from the bright white smile that most people hope to achieve.
Additionally, you might also suffer from yellow or brown spots on the teeth. In other words, you will not have consistent coloring over the surface of the tooth.
You might not be able to spot this next symptom, but it is just as important. Teeth with hypocalcification are typically more sensitive to hot and cold foods. If you notice any discoloration along with this increased sensitivity, it is a sign that you may have chalky spots that need to be addressed.
How Dentists Treat Hypocalcifications
It may come as no surprise, but dentists have a handy arsenal of tools at their disposal to help you combat these chalky spots in your smile. You need to pay careful attention to these spots to keep them from worsening and causing discomfort in your mouth.
Routine Checkups and Fluoride Treatments
One of the first and easiest things you can do is schedule appointments for regular fluoride treatments. Application of fluoride to adult teeth can serve to strengthen the tooth. Keep in mind that too much fluoride can also lead to speckled teeth, so there is a fine line to walk with these treatments. Most dentists recommend getting a fluoride treatment during your six-month check-ups.
Regular appointments with your dentist can help them to spot issues like hypocalcification early on. This is why it is so important not to let your dental hygiene slide.
If you have a relatively mild case of hypocalcification that affects just a couple of your teeth or has spots that are not so prominent, you may be able to correct the color with bleaching. The bleach used by your dentist is stronger than what can be found in many at-home whitening kits. Having the bleach applied by a professional also lessens the risk that you will cause further damage to your enamel or your gums.
Unfortunately, these services are typically not covered by insurance because they are purely cosmetic.
Sometimes, the tooth is simply too far gone for fluoride treatments and bleaching. In this case, your dentist may recommend crowns to help solidify your chalky tooth and encapsulate what remains of it. The crown will provide you with the outward appearance of a perfect tooth and help to polish off your smile.
Holistic Remedies for Chalky Spots
In addition to those treatments offered by your dentist, you may want to consider some holistic remedies that you can pursue at home. These are often less expensive than what your dentist might quote you. Also, some of them pose less of a risk to your overall health because they utilize more natural ingredients. Here are some of the top holistic remedies you can try for hypocalcification.
If you were thinking of getting your teeth bleached by your dentist, you might want to try this remedy first. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective bleaching agent and is a primary ingredient in many of the teeth whitening kits and strips found at your local drug store. By combining it with baking soda, you can harness the power of these two ingredients to create a much brighter smile.
Use a small bowl to mix the two ingredients together until they form a toothpaste-like consistency. Using a wet toothbrush, dip it into the mixture and scrub away at those chalky spots for two minutes. Continue to do this regularly to see the best whitening results.
Distilled White Vinegar
Some people simply don’t like the idea of putting hydrogen peroxide in their mouths. Vinegar is another potential candidate if you want to get rid of those pesky chalky spots on your teeth. It has an acidic nature that can clear away discoloration and help sanitize your mouth all at the same time. Simply mix it with some baking soda once again and scrub for two minutes, repeating the process regularly as needed.
Lemon and Salt
One great, natural source of citric acid is lemons.Citric Acid is a great ingredient to help clear those white spots away from your teeth. Next time you head to the grocery store, pick up some of this yellow fruit to help with your hypocalcification. Squeeze the juice into a bowl and add a pinch of coarse table salt. Rub the mixture vigorously into your teeth for two to three minutes and rinse with water. As a bonus, this technique can also help to freshen the breath.
Last but not least, you may want to try using special toothpastes that are formulated to restore calcium to your teeth. Look for tubes marked with this type of label to help stop hypocalcification at its source instead of simply masking the problem with whitening solutions. These toothpastes may also help with some of the sensitivity you can experience as a side effect of having these chalky spots.
Treating Chalky Spots
While it can certainly be unsightly to have spotted teeth, there are plenty of treatment options to get you the bright and beautiful smile you deserve. Try a combination of these methods from a professional and these at-home remedies to give yourself the best odds of treating this condition.