Decalcification and white spot lesions

What is decalcification?

Decalcification, or the appearance of white spot lesions, occurs as a result of demineralization and can be a sign of oncoming carious lesions or early tooth decay. Demineralization is the process through which minerals such as phosphorus and calcium vanish from the tooth structure. Mineral dissipation is usually the result of acids formed by bacteria present in the mouth. The multiplication and adhesion process of bacteria begins within seconds of brushing, and plaque formation begins. The bacteria in plaque have the ability to replicate in an oxygenated environment. Without proper oral hygiene care, the bacterial plaque thickens and inhibits saliva penetration; thus causing the calcium and ions of the portion of the tooth in contact, to diffuse into the plaque forming tarter. As a result white spots begin to appear.

Overall, this can result in teeth becoming discolored and uneven in appearance.


Symptoms of decalcification or white spot lesions can include:

  • White spots or marks on the teeth.
  • A chalky, white appearance on the teeth.
  • Tooth sensitivity.

If you notice any of these symptoms,


Remember, all diseases are treatable if diagnosed early enough, so the key to treating decalcification is to prevent it from getting any worse.

Our dentists can assess your pictures and help by identifying decalcification early on and by making recommendations for good oral hygiene, which can improve the aesthetic of the teeth in general and reduce the effects of demineralization.


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