tooth decalcification

Tooth Decalcification Guide- Causes & Treatment

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Tooth Decalcification – What are the Causes? Can it Be Treated?

Tooth decalcification (also known as white spots on teeth) is one of the most common dental problems. One of the first signs is usually chalky white spots appearing on the teeth.

A disruption in the dental remineralization process triggers the decalcification of teeth, and it occurs just before the onset of cavitation.

Are you experiencing decalcification from braces? Decalcifcation after braces? Do you wish to find tooth decalcification treatment? Or are you more interested in what causes decalcification of teeth?

If any of these questions describe your situation and you are searching for how to get rid of decapitation spots on teeth, keep reading this article to find out what you need to know.

What causes the decalcification of teeth? 

Tooth decalcification is attributed to several causes and here are some of the most common:

Excess Fluoride Exposure

White spots can also develop on the teeth if the mouth is exposed to excess fluoride. This condition (fluorosis) is common in children 1-8 years, that is, during development stages in which the enamel and teeth haven’t fully formed. 

Fluorosis can eventually lead to defective tooth enamel (a condition known as enamel hypoplasia). If a child suffers this condition, they might end up with permanently discolored teeth. Certain medications are responsible for fluorosis, as well as ingesting fluoride toothpaste and excessively drinking fluoridated water. 

Bacteria Overgrowth

White spots on your teeth can appear due to the presence of excessive oral bacteria. The reason is that our teeth provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow since they contain virtually everything necessary for these bacteria to survive. Whenever you ingest food or drinks, you increase the acidity of your mouth which makes it the perfect place for bacteria to thrive.

Some of the best ways to make your mouth less conducive for bacterial overgrowth is to brush and floss regularly. Anywhere from 12 to 24 hours is enough to encourage the buildup of plaque and that’s why you have to brush and floss as often as you can to keep these white spots at bay. 


Decalcified teeth can also be the result of using certain medications. Some antibiotics are known to influence the build-up of tooth enamel and can give bacteria a chance to attack. That’s primarily because the process through which your body absorbs nutrients can be affected by antibiotics. 

Children need to be more careful because they are the most vulnerable concerning how the tooth enamel is impacted by some medications.


Decalcification can also occur depending on your diet, especially if you mostly eat meals that are low in calcium. You already know how important calcium is when it comes to your oral health but starving your teeth of this nutrient can cause them to become weak and unhealthy.

If you want to build your enamel, consider consuming foods that have high calcium concentration such as leafy greens, as well as almonds and cheese. You also want to steer clear of very acidic foods as they are known to be culprits in the onset of dental decalcification or tooth decay

Braces decalcification- White spots on teeth after braces

Another reason for tooth decalcification is poor oral care when using dental braces. Orthodontic decalcification or braces decalcifcation of teeth from/after braces appears in the form of white lines or spots on the areas of the teeth where your dentist glued the brackets. This often appears as white squares on the teeth where the brackets used to be. High levels of oral acidity and poor oral hygiene can lead to your teeth losing essential minerals.

You can prevent decalcification from braces by getting rid of food debris and particles lodged in and around your brackets regularly. You’ll be better off maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine so that you don’t end up with white spots after braces. Water flossers are highly recommended for use with braces. Check out our best water flossers of 2020 list.

braces care gift box

We also love this braces dental care kit that contains everything you need to maintain great oral hygiene with braces.

Smoking during pregnancy

White spots can also develop on the teeth of children if mothers smoke tobacco while pregnant. The reason is that using tobacco while pregnant accelerates enamel hypoplasia and eventually results in the discoloration of the child’s teeth.

Tooth Decalcification Treatment

If you are concerned about how to get rid of decalcification spots on teeth, there is a wide range of options for you to explore. But it all depends on the condition of your teeth, as well as the underlying cause, to determine what decalcification treatment will work best for you.

Dental veneers

A lot of people use protective coverings that are thin to hide dental white spots. These are known as dental veneers and they are very effective. However, you can only get them from a dentist and they are relatively expensive. 

Enamel microabrasion

Treating white spots on teeth can be achieved via microabrasion in some cases. That means your dentist will have to get rid of some teeth enamel to make the white spots less visible. Afterward, you’ll have to undergo teeth bleaching to create a uniformity of color in your teeth.

I have seen amazing results with enamel microbrasion in people that have decalcifcation after braces.

Teeth whitening

Another method of reducing orthodontic decalcification is teeth whitening or bleaching. You will find over the counter teeth whitening products or you can get them from online vendors. My personal favorite are these. It will be in your best interest to seek professional care if you’re considering exploring teeth whitening treatment. That’s because of the presence of stronger bleaching agents in them. 

Composite resin

Your dentist can fill a tooth cavity in by applying composite resin which also helps in outer enamel bonding. This procedure is mostly recommended for patients that have so many decalcified teeth spots that have turned into a cavity.

Topical fluoride

Patients who have enamel decalcification may benefit from topical fluoride applied by a dentist. Topical fluoride helps to influence enamel development and can also protect you from tooth decay.

Be sure to also use a fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash at home to have continual strengthening of the enamel.

Managing tooth decalcification

Whether you are experiencing braces decalcifciation or any other causes, remember that this condition puts you at risk of experiencing decay and cavities. Your ability to manage tooth decalcification depends on the level of oral hygiene you keep.

Make it a habit to develop a good oral hygiene routine, which involves brushing and flossing regularly so that you do not give any room for bacterial overgrowth and plaque formation. Steer clear of sugary foods and stick to your dentist’s instructions so that you protect your teeth from decalcification.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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