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White Spots on Baby Teeth

By Rose Welton ; Updated August 14, 2017

Baby teeth are the first set of teeth your child will have. She will have her whole set by the time she is 2 or 3, and will eventually lose this set to make room for her primary, or permanent, teeth. While caring for your child’s teeth, you may notice that she has bright white spots on her teeth. This is common for children who have had a lot of fluoride.

Cause

According to the Mayo Clinic, bright white spots or streaks on baby teeth are the result of too much fluoride, a problem known as fluorosis. Teeth need fluoride to stay strong and harden tooth enamel, helping to make them resistant to acid and bacteria. Too much exposure to fluoride from sources such as tap water and toothpaste causes discoloration.

Risk of Cavities

Cavities are tooth decay that often occurs as a result of sugar and acid eating away at teeth. However, Family Doctor also says that white spots on teeth increase the risk of developing cavities. Cavities can be painful and often require expensive fillings to fix, but practicing good dental hygiene and avoiding excessive fluoride exposure can help avoid them.

Treatment

Your child’s white spots may fade over time and blend in with the rest of the tooth. However, it's possible that that white spots won't go away completely. Fortunately, your child will get her second set of teeth around the time she's 6 or 7, and these primary teeth will not have the same white spots or streaks.

Prevention

To prevent your child from developing white spots on his teeth, ask his doctor how much fluoride he needs. The municipal water system in your area most likely has fluoride added to it, and you can buy a test kit to determine whether your well water has fluoride. If you don't have fluoride in your water, your child’s doctor may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops when your baby is 6 months old. However, if you have fluoride in your water system, avoid giving your child too much, such as fluoride added to toothpaste.

Dental Care

Before your baby’s teeth even come in, wipe her gums with a damp cloth in order to keep them clean. When she has teeth, brush them at least twice a day and before bedtime. When she gets older, you can help her learn how to brush them herself. Good dental hygiene is an effective way to prevent cavities and tooth decay, and keep her baby teeth strong.

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