Chalk teeth are not just an aesthetic problem. Rather, it is a disorder in the formation of tooth enamel that causes concern among pediatric dentists and is classified as a new widespread disease due to its severity.
What is the cause and how can chalky teeth be prevented?
What are chalk teeth?
A new widespread disease is making headlines. Increasingly, children in elementary school receive a less than pleasant diagnosis from the dentist. chalk teeth. This is damage to the tooth enamel that leads to porosity in the permanent teeth.
Caries, broken teeth and sensitivity to hot and cold are side effects of the disease. Yes, chalking teeth is a disease and not a cause based on poor oral hygiene. Chalk teeth are visually recognizable and stand out due to their wavy structure and uneven colouring.
Many children and young people suffer from chalking teeth
Around a third of all children up to the age of 12 suffer from the dental disease. The quotient is thus even higher than the diagnosis for caries, which was previously considered the greatest danger for children’s teeth. The risk is higher with chalking teeth as there is no real cause yet and research is in its infancy.
Unlike tooth decay, where dentists rightly speak of too much sugar and soft drinks. The medical term for chalk teeth is MIH – short for molar incisive hypomineralization, the disruption of the mineralization in the tooth enamel.
Meanwhile, it is known that the risk is higher in small patients whose first teeth already show signs of deciduous molar (MMH) damage. You can help your child by attending the check-up appointments at the children’s dentist and following the doctor’s tips.
The aesthetic consideration of the chalk tooth
The first milk teeth fall out even before elementary school and you wait curiously until the first permanent teeth break through. You can find important information about the order here. Children’s teeth are actually snow-white and literally shine. Unfortunately, today the reality is different.
Are you one of those parents who wonders about the yellowing of the new teeth? Aesthetics, while an issue in the long run, are the lesser concern. Chalk teeth have different characteristics individually or in combination.
longitudinal grooves and furrows
The first signs can usually be seen before the end of the tooth growth phase. The front teeth have visible, often darker grooves. White spots between the grooves are also a symptom that you should not put off visiting the pediatric dentist if you find them.
In addition to the appearance, the grooves and furrows pose a health problem. They provide a breeding ground for caries bacteria and promote the destruction of the tooth in childhood.
Teeth appear yellow as they grow
Another clearly visible feature is the discoloration of the teeth newly growing out of the jaw. Here, too, the problem is particularly visible with the large incisors in the front area.
The yellowish basic color is accompanied by brown spots that make the tooth look unkempt and “bad”. A healthy tooth erupts white from the gums. Attention should be paid to yellowish and dull-looking tooth surfaces. This can and will usually be chalk teeth.
Chalk teeth look porous and soft
The risk of chalk teeth is accompanied by an optically visible softness of the tooth enamel, which is confirmed in practice. Due to the lack of mineralization, the tooth is porous and is not protected by the enamel.
If your children’s teeth appear to have a coating, this is an indication of chalk teeth, even if the teeth are white.
The health considerations of chalk teeth
If you go to the dentist for the first time when your first milk teeth erupt, you can reduce the risk.
Even if there is no scientific proof, dentists agree that chalking teeth are caused by plastic. And you ingest these yourself during pregnancy through food. After birth , your baby gets teething rings and plastic teats, which seems to have laid the foundation for this widespread disease.
Affected teeth are prone to decay and brittle
The porous and much too soft enamel increases the susceptibility to caries. Broken teeth, starting with chipping enamel, are also not uncommon. Even if you don’t seem to see any visible signs of chalk teeth, you should react to heat and cold sensitivity.
If your child talks about toothache while brushing their teeth, this can indicate increased sensitivity, along with chalking teeth.
Chalk teeth are more dangerous than tooth decay
Small caries can be reliably and completely removed. The tooth is filled and only slightly damaged in perspective. The situation is different with chalk teeth. The risk of the disease is due to the impossibility of cure.
You can only prevent it by avoiding the cause and buying as little plastic as possible in the form of packaging and children’s toys. However, it is still almost impossible to completely do without plastics and plasticizers in plastic. Even where you don’t suspect it, plastics are present in microfine particles.
Core problem: Enamel formation disorder cannot be cured
The classification as a disease is based on the incurability of the enamel formation disorder. Only with extreme care and early prevention can you mitigate the danger and hope that your child does not get chalk teeth.
The last few weeks of your pregnancy and the first four years of the baby’s life seem to be crucial. Some studies suggest that BPA may be a trigger for damaging enamel formation.
Even if the cause is not fully understood, there are a few theories and therefore a few ways you can prevent it and enable your child to lead a healthy life with their teeth.
Where do chalk teeth come from? The causes at a glance
As already mentioned in the paragraph above, plastics with plasticizers are definitely a risk. But antibiotics are also suspected, as are frequent medications in infancy. Difficulties such as lack of oxygen at birth can also damage teeth long before they erupt.
Oral hygiene is what you think of most. But exactly that is not in any suspicion when it comes to chalk teeth. A lack of dental care or the wrong toothpaste promote tooth decay and can cause children’s teeth to rot. But there is no connection to chalk teeth.
Are plastics a reason for chalk teeth?
A large part of our food is packed in foil. This is how plastics get into your body. Dietary intake is an unavoidable side effect of packaged foods.
Even if you carefully remove foil, the food was in contact with the chemicals and could contain tiny particles of plastic. With the strong suspicion that the softeners and other chemicals used soften tooth enamel, avoid packaged foods, plastic microwave dishes, and plastic food storage containers as much as possible.
Dentists warn: The first year of life is crucial for healthy teeth
Everyone in the dental industry agrees. Pediatric dentists see the first year of a child’s life as a crucial period in the malformation of the tooth enamel. It is precisely at this time that your baby chews on teethers and uses the pacifier, which creates a calming feeling and helps to fall asleep.
Chewing also provides relief for teething problems . But are you promoting the widespread disease of chalk teeth? It almost seems so, because this disease occurs predominantly and in the strength of the extent in the industrialized countries.
sweets for children
Health: First teeth and “school teeth” are related
In the case of caries, the connection between the infestation of milk teeth and the second teeth has already been proven. Children whose first teeth are already carious tend to have caries in their permanent teeth as early as primary school age.
A similar theory is currently being tested in various studies for chalk teeth. If the first year of life is crucial, the theory sounds logical and a connection would be conceivable. The most suspected cause of chalk teeth is lifelong.
Only those who live without plastics can prevent contact with plasticizers and chemicals whose effects have not been fully researched.
The foundation for dental health is already laid during pregnancy
The first year of life has already been mentioned. The next three years are also important for the dental health of your child. But what do chalk teeth have to do with your pregnancy? You have to know that the development of tooth enamel begins in the womb.
Dental health is decided between the eighth month of pregnancy and the child’s fourth year of life. The fact is that chalk teeth are not hereditary and you do not have to worry about them.
A tip: Avoid eating plastic-packaged food during your pregnancy. If there is a connection, you reduce the risk for your child even before it is born.
Treat chalk teeth in time
Despite all the care and the reduction in contact with plastic, your child still has chalk teeth. Treatment in the form of a cure is not possible. But you can stop the progress of the damage by having a fissure sealant done in addition to avoiding the cause.
The dentist already recommends this measure for the first teeth that are demonstrably affected. The second teeth with grooves and furrows can also be made durable and protected from breakage by sealing them.
The sooner you consult the dentist and have your child examined, the greater the chances of reducing the susceptibility to caries and other problems resulting from chalk teeth.
What can you do?
You can prevent it with all of the listed measures. Whether your child gets chalk teeth or not is still not in your power. Avoiding toys with softeners, withdrawing the pacifier early and visiting the dentist from the very first milk tooth are effective prophylaxis for healthy teeth.
Children’s toothpaste should definitely contain fluoride, as this substance has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel. The dentist recommends treating chalk teeth with a highly effective fluoride varnish up to four times a year.
This sealing is carried out in the practice and has already proven itself in avoiding chipping enamel and broken teeth.
When chalk teeth can no longer be saved
This circumstance will hardly affect all of your child’s teeth. However, a single tooth with severe damage can certainly pose a challenge. If the hard tooth substance is lost, it is either filled or, if necessary, treated with a partial or full crown.
If the damage has already spread to the nerves of the tooth or the root, extraction with subsequent orthodontic gap closure is an option. Even if the thought is not pleasant: You cannot rule out the need for chalk teeth.
In the case of unexplained tooth discoloration in childhood, go to the dentist immediately
As a rule, the phenomenon of chalk teeth occurs as soon as the teeth erupt. But even at a later point in time, the once brilliant white teeth can suddenly become yellow to brownish discoloration or grooves.
White spots are less common. In any case, you must clarify the cause and have the teeth examined by a dentist. Early treatment, for example with a seal, prevents carious teeth and can protect against substance loss with subsequent tooth loss in the long term.
When does a child have to go to the dentist for the first time?
In the past, the first visit to the dentist was common in kindergarten age. But today, most mothers take their baby to the dentist for the first time when the milk teeth break through or when the first tooth has come through.
From this point on, six-monthly checks are advisable. An experienced dentist not only sees if your child has chalk teeth. He will advise you on the cause, identify caries in the smallest form and keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Another advantage: J the earlier a child gets used to the dentist, the lower the risk of generalized fear of the dentist occurring later.
Fluoride against chalking teeth – does that help?
Fluoride has always been an ingredient in children’s toothpaste. However, in the recent past, opinions have been arguing as to whether the additive is really useful or whether fluoride can be dispensed with. The fact is that toothpaste containing fluoride hardens and protects tooth enamel.
Unfortunately, the substance cannot help against chalk teeth themselves. But doing without is not advisable, as can be seen from the recommended fluoride sealants at the children’s dentist. Research is ongoing and it’s only a matter of time before experts get to the bottom of what causes chalking teeth.