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5 Things That Could be Causing White Spots on Your Baby’s Teeth

By May 23, 2023December 19th, 2023Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Your wee one’s first set of teeth are precious. So understandably, you might be a little concerned about white spots on those cute little baby teeth. What’s causing these white spots?

In this post, Dr. Paddy and your Denver-area pediatric dental team at Kids Mile High want to equip you with the info you need about white spots on your little one’s teeth. Let’s talk about the top 5 common causes for white spots on baby teeth.  

  1. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Ok, to be clear, your little one won’t get tooth decay or white spots on their teeth from the actual bottle or sippy cup. Phew! One less thing to worry about as a parent. Instead, “baby bottle tooth decay” refers to getting tooth decay or white spots from bottle or sippy cup habits that prolong the presence of sugar on their teeth. 

How does baby bottle tooth decay happen? If your child falls asleep with their bottle or sippy cup, the sugar in what they’re drinking tends to coat their teeth, causing tooth decay more quickly. For the same reason, tooth decay is more likely to happen from continually drinking milk or a sugary drink without long enough breaks in between. (This goes for everyone actually: babies, kids, and you!) 

You see, when baby teeth come into frequent contact with the sugar in milk or sweet drinks, oral bacteria gets to work feeding on those sugars and produces acids that attack and weaken your child’s tooth enamel. This makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Breaks from the sippy cup or bottle will allow your baby’s saliva to neutralize the acids and return your child’s enamel from a weakened, softened state to a hardened, durable state.

  1. Enamel Hypoplasia

Speaking of enamel, white spots on a baby’s teeth can also happen because of an issue called enamel hypoplasia. This is when tooth enamel is hard enough but too thin to properly protect your child’s soft dentin underneath. Hyperplasia can happen to individual teeth, in certain spots on individual teeth, or less common, on all teeth. The unprotected tooth is then more susceptible to tooth decay and can result in white or brown spots. Kids get enamel hypoplasia because of disruptions in their tooth enamel development — either in utero, early infancy, or early childhood. 

  1. Medications

Certain antibiotics can cause white spots to show up on baby teeth. How? By interfering with tooth enamel development when taken during pregnancy or when given to young children. In other words, some medications cause enamel hypoplasia (talked about above) and make your child more susceptible to a baby tooth cavity or tooth decay.

Make sure you let us know about medications your wee one is taking, has taken in the past, or if mom took antibiotics during pregnancy. This info can help us really pinpoint reasons for the white spots on your child’s teeth. 

  1. Fluorosis

You’ve likely heard that fluoride is good for strengthening teeth. But when baby teeth are  exposed to too much fluoride through drinking water or toothpaste, this can cause white or brown spots. The good news? Fluorosis isn’t harmful to baby teeth or a child’s overall health; quite the opposite! Teeth with fluorosis are actually more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Fluorosis is only an aesthetic concern. 

  1. Poor Dental Hygiene

If a baby or toddler’s teeth are not cleaned well every day, plaque and bacteria can build up and cause white spots — or even cavities — on teeth. As your Denver pediatric dentists, we can’t say it enough: diligent brushing and flossing is Step One in preventing tooth decay in your little one. And bonus, starting a good oral hygiene routine early and making it fun builds a solid foundation for valuing life-long oral health.

​​Your Denver Area Pediatric Dentists For Happy Smiles

If you notice white spots on your child’s baby’s teeth, come in to see your award-winning pediatric dentists at Kids Mile High. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith are happy to assess your child’s white spots and recommend a plan for your child’s best oral health.

Contact us to make an appointment at one of our fun and friendly offices in Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO.