Posted on 08/17/2017

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest thing in your entire body, and it’s made up of a collection of various minerals. It needs some essential minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous, in order to stay strong and continue to repair itself in a process called remineralization. However, even the strongest things have a weakness, and when your enamel comes into contact with acid formed from bacteria in your mouth, these minerals are stripped away. This bacteria can easily form out of leftover food particles that were not cleaned away with a proper oral hygiene routine, that eventually transforms into bacteria and plaque. This process of your tooth enamel weakening by losing phosphorous and calcium by the way of acidic bacteria is called decalcification.

White Spots On The Teeth

The telltale sign of decalcification are small, white spots that appear on the teeth. These are common after certain orthodontic treatments such as braces, but can happen to anyone with or without braces.  The degree to which these white spots appear varies from person to person. The spots appear white because water replaces the missing minerals, which causes a change in appearance in the tooth.

Can Decalcification Be Treated?

Unfortunately, decalcification and the white spots caused by it are typically permanent. There are ways that aim to treat and reverse decalcification, but the effectiveness of these methods is not guaranteed. In any circumstance, it’s highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with your local Grand Rapids dentist for a consultation.  

The main way to treat decalcification is through the process of remineralization, which will restore those necessary minerals to the teeth. Professional dental cleanings and good oral hygiene will help clear away bacteria and plaque, allowing your saliva to naturally trigger the remineralization process. Also, applying fluoride to your teeth via various fluoride toothpastes or mouth rinses will help your enamel be more resistant to the acid produced by bacteria.  


Even though remineralization can help reverse decalcification, the results may not be perfect. Often, the surface of the teeth start to remineralize, but the deeper parts of your enamel can remain marked by decalcification, leaving what is essentially a white scar on the tooth. The best way to combat decalcification, is by working to prevent it.


How Do You Prevent Tooth Decalcification?

Your best bet at preventing decalcification in your teeth, is through a comprehensive and consistent oral hygiene routine, and regularly scheduled appointments with you dentist for a full cleaning. You can also work in some oral hygiene products with fluoride to consistently trigger the remineralization process and keep your teeth strong.  

For the perfect oral hygiene routine, you should to brush, floss, and rinse after each meal to ensure that there are no food particles trapped in your mouth that could form bacteria. Also, going to the dentist for a professional cleaning will clear away any building of plaque, and get a deeper clean than you could at home.  If you have braces, it can be even more challenging to keep your teeth perfectly clean, which is why decalcification is common when patients get their braces off. This just means that you’ll need to be extra vigilant during your oral hygiene routine.  If you never give bacteria a chance to form, it will never turn into acid that strips away the calcium from your teeth.

Contact Grand Ridge Orthodontics!

If you start to notice any white spots on your teeth, or are worried about developing decalcification, just contact us at Grand Ridge Orthodontics today. You can speak with a member of our experienced orthodontic staff to get answers for any of your questions, or to schedule an appointment. We proudly offer professional orthodontics to the families of Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities. We look forward to welcoming you to the Grand Ridge Orthodontics family, and helping you achieve a healthier smile that will last for years!