1 in 5 Children Have Chalky teeth- What Does This Mean?

1 in 5 Children Have Chalky teeth- What Does This Mean? Mixed race little patient showing her perfect toothy smile while sitting dentists chair

1 in 5 Children Have Chalky Teeth – What Does This Mean?

Have you heard about Chalky teeth? The term gets thrown around in conversation but what does it mean?

“Chalky” teeth is the colloquial term for Molar Hypomineralisation (MH), a developmental dental defect.  MH refers to teeth that haven’t developed property leading to enamel that is NOT hard and NOT resistant to decay as normal. Children’s teeth can look a bit different, be discoloured or heavily broken down. Often, the condition is picked up by parents who notice odd looking teeth. The condition can be first detected in the primary teeth or “baby” teeth, from an early age by your dental professional.

The condition affects 1 in 5 children worldwide and while it is a greatly studied topic, it is poorly recognised as a principal risk factor for childhood tooth decay (1). The exact cause of the condition remains largely unknown.

Problems associated with Chalky Teeth include:

  • Toothache
  • Accelerated tooth decay
  • Can affect your child’s ability to function – eat and sleep in some cases.
  • The condition may affect both baby and adult teeth

Dental professionals will look at the appearance of the affected teeth and the number of affected teeth. In many cases dental x-rays may be taken to assess the degree of damage.

Advise will depend on the severity of your child’s case which can vary from very mild to severe.

Early attention to Molar Hypomineralisation is paramount to ensure the best long-term outcomes. The focus is aimed at protection of defective teeth and most importantly your child’s well-being. If you have concerns with your child’s teeth, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your friendly dental team as soon as possible.

Reference:

(1) A breakthrough in understanding the pathogenesis of molar hypomineralisation: The mineralisation-poisoning model
Hubbard MJ, Mangum JE, Perez VA, Williams, R (2021) Frontiers Physiol, 12, 802833

(2) The D3 GROUP www.thed3group.org

  • Chalky teeth image by Dr Sandra Buchler

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Sandra Buchler

Sandra is a mum to three young children who loves travelling, exercise and a fabulous coffee. Sandra is also a board registered Specialist Paediatric Dentist passionate about Oral Health in the newborn through to the adolescent. She has a keen interest in treating anxious children and those with special needs.

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