According to a statement by many concerned German dentists, chalk teeth are now a widespread disease . Children and young people are primarily affected by crumbling tooth substance. In the meantime, 30 percent of all twelve-year-olds are affected by chalk teeth. Doctors are still investigating the exact causes of the increased occurrence of chalk teeth. The demineralization of teeth has been known since the 17th century. Today, medical professionals speak of molar incisor hypomineralization when the milk teeth are already recognized as chalk teeth.
What are chalk teeth?
One of the typical symptoms of chalk teeth is an increased sensitivity of the child’s teeth to cold stimuli and touch. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Chalk Teeth.
Chalk teeth – popularly known as cheesy molars – are defined as a systemic defect in the enamel and tooth structure. This defect, which is based on a chronic mineral deficiency, often appears for the first time in the milk teeth.
Later, the permanent teeth are also affected by the chalky, roughened and yellowish areas on the teeth. The chalk teeth are also described as hypomineralization of the teeth.
The tooth structure is increasingly lost. This increases the risk of caries and the sensitivity of the teeth to cold stimuli or touch. By definition, it is a systemic but non-hereditary dental disease.
It is striking that the chalk teeth are often already diseased while they are still growing out of the jaw. Therefore, internal or systemic causes are the likely cause. The cause of the demineralization of children’s teeth may already arise in the womb. It then continues in the first four years of the child’s life through the nutrition supplied.
During this period, the teeth are normally mineralized. It is not yet clear why this is happening. There can be both external and internal causes. However, research into the causes of the increased occurrence of chalk teeth is still in full swing. It must be questioned why this phenomenon was already widespread in the 17th century and why it is increasingly occurring again today.
As is well known, the plasticizers in plastics and other products, which many dentists hold responsible, did not exist at that time. Research confirms that environmental factors such as bisphenol A or phthalates in plastics can have an impact on the development of chalky teeth.
However, this would only be provable in a long-term study. Certain respiratory diseases, latent lack of oxygen during the birth process or the multiple administration of antibiotics to small children are also under discussion as the cause. It is possible that the demineralization of the teeth is also related to excessive sugar consumption by mother and child. In particular, soft drinks and cola drinks that have a high sugar content could come under critical scrutiny.
In addition to phosphoric acid and carbonic acid, such drinks also contain other tooth-damaging substances. The acids contained in such drinks could dissolve the softeners from the bottle. Further studies are still to be carried out on the causes. It can be assumed that chalking teeth may have several causes. Such complex pathways are difficult to identify.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
One of the typical symptoms of chalk teeth is an increased sensitivity of the child’s teeth to cold stimuli and touch. The teeth hurt when brushing your teeth, when they come into contact with cold air and when you eat cold food and stimulants.
The developmental disorder can affect both the molar area and the front teeth. A doctor can visually recognize the chalk teeth by their rough surface, which later often turns yellowish-brown. The teeth appear attacked by the demineralization. This makes them significantly more susceptible to tooth decay or other damage to the hard tooth structure.
One of the most common complications of chalk teeth is that they can crumble or break off more easily than other teeth under normal stress from chewing. The demineralized tooth substance is significantly more crumbly. It is less resilient and much more vulnerable to tooth decay. Therefore, complications in dental treatment are to be expected even in old age.
Broken or badly damaged chalk teeth in adult patients may need to be surgically removed and replaced with implants. Psychological stress due to the unsightly appearance cannot be ruled out either. However, the dentist could prevent such side effects with veneers.
When should you go to the doctor?
If parents discover rough or discolored milk teeth in their small children, a thorough examination of the child’s teeth is advisable. If the affected teeth react sensitively to cold stimuli, a visit to the dentist makes sense.
The earlier the treatment of the already recognizable demineralization consequences begins, the sooner later damage to the tooth structure can be prevented. The dentist can determine that the demineralized tooth has defective enamel.
Early diagnosis of chalk teeth is important so that all possible measures can be taken today. In particular, the consequential damage to the permanent teeth must be kept as low as possible. At the latest when the first permanent teeth come through, the parents should take their child to a dentist because of the chalk teeth.
The diagnosis of chalk teeth can be easily made through visual diagnosis. Numerous other investigations are not necessary for this. Even the deciduous teeth show the traces of demineralization. The dentist can then conclude that the permanent teeth will also be affected by demineralization.
The only thing that is unclear is to what extent this will be the case. Often not all teeth are recognizable as chalk teeth. The molars are mostly affected. On an X-ray, the dentist would not be able to tell whether the molars that have not yet grown back are just as demineralized as the milk teeth. However, a diagnostic distinction must be made as to whether the recognizable discoloration of the teeth actually indicates chalk teeth or not.
In some children, it could be the result of dental trauma. This would only occur to a limited extent with a few teeth that are directly next to each other. The front teeth are most commonly affected by dental trauma. Molar incisor hypomineralization, on the other hand, also occurs in sites that are not typically trauma-prone.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of chalk teeth is complex and lengthy. A remineralization of the already damaged chalk teeth is not possible. The therapy is more about protecting the chalk teeth from further damage to the tooth structure.
The main aim must be to prevent subsequent caries damage or to detect it at an early stage. The porous chalk teeth are more susceptible to tooth damage due to the attacked enamel. One of the most important measures to protect the tooth substance is regular fluoridation in the case of chalk teeth.
The age of the little patient plays just as important a role in the treatment as the extent and severity of the tooth damage found. Applying fluoride varnish to the affected teeth is a possible measure against later tooth damage. Fluorination must be carried out regularly. For very small patients, it may not yet be advisable to use a toothpaste containing fluoride. This is often swallowed.
Parents must teach children the importance of good dental care from an early age. In addition, regular professional tooth cleaning is also an important measure of tooth decay prevention. The chalk teeth can also be provided with a fissure seal for protection. The problem here is that such sealants do not adhere so well to the roughened tooth surface.
If some of the chalk teeth turn out to be crumbly or very painful, they can be protected with a suitable crown if necessary. In adults with chalk teeth, severely discolored chalk teeth can be covered with veneers. In the long term, however, it is to be expected that the particularly severely damaged chalk teeth will have to be crowned or removed.
Outlook & Forecast
The chances of the chalk teeth developing caries, despite all dental efforts, are better if the affected child is treated early. In the medium and long term, the treatment would have to start much earlier – before pregnancy.
The generation of expectant mothers may have something to do with the development of chalk teeth in their offspring. If this hypothesis were to be confirmed by long-term studies, prophylactic treatment would have to start here so that the unborn children later have less tooth damage. How this can be achieved and which factors contribute to the development of chalk teeth must therefore be researched as a matter of urgency.
If softeners or other chemicals actually contribute to the decay of the tooth substance, these substances should be banned as soon as possible. In addition, nutritional factors would have to be researched and then eliminated. Otherwise, the odds are poor that children with chalk teeth may receive more than symptomatic treatment.
A prophylaxis is currently only feasible for later caries damage. Here, early education about the dangers of sugar consumption and unhealthy, low-mineral food can help to improve the long-term prognosis for those affected. According to the current state of knowledge, the number of people affected will probably increase.
As a preventative measure, expectant mothers should do a lot to ensure that their offspring do not get chalky teeth. When neurodermatitis or chalk teeth occur in small children, nutritional deficiencies in the mother may play a greater role, along with other factors.
Anyone who does not eat healthily as a child and later as an adult will probably also transfer these nutrient deficiencies to a growing child. Especially during the phase in which children’s teeth are mineralizing, attention should be paid to mineral richness in the diet. This may no longer be the case if the child’s parents have been satisfied with fast food or industrially produced food that is generally poor in nutrients for years.
Parents should set the course for their small children in the first four years of life so that the children do not have chalk teeth. Especially in the last third of pregnancy and in the first year of life, the course is set for the future health of the child and its teeth. Since the insufficient mineralization probably also affects the skeleton, later skeletal damage cannot be ruled out in children with chalk teeth.
Regular check-ups and follow-up examinations at the dentist continuously diagnose the course of the damage and the extent of the chalk teeth. The dentist treats the damaged teeth intensively with a fluoride sealant, which helps to protect and counteract the sensitivity of the teeth to pain. This sealing should be repeated every three months. In this way, the progression of the disease can be controlled and major tooth damage can be avoided.
Toothpaste containing fluoride is effective for the aftercare treatment of chalk teeth. The toothpaste must come into direct and intensive contact with the teeth that are damaged. The result of the fluoride treatment is optimized by a short exposure time. If early diagnosis and prophylaxis are missed, the chances that the chalk teeth will not be attacked by caries are very slim.
The substance loss of the teeth is then so advanced that treatment will hardly bring the desired success. The damaged teeth then need to be removed during surgery. The burden of pain and altered to disfigured appearance for the patient increases. Patients with chalk teeth and such disease courses therefore require additional psychological care. Finally, eating a diet rich in minerals and vitamins can protect against the spread of chalk tooth damage.
You can do that yourself
People who want to become parents later in life probably don’t worry at a young age about whether their children will later have chalk teeth or not. Therefore, there should be approaches at as many levels as possible to consider such problems and to develop feasible solutions.
Each individual can contribute. Anyone who eats a healthy diet for life and makes sure their food is rich in vitamins and minerals has probably done a lot to prevent their offspring from developing chalk teeth. You should also take a critical look at your own sugar consumption. Above all, however, the phthalates in plastic bottles are currently the focus of attention for the development of chalk teeth. It can therefore make sense to avoid consuming sugary and acidic drinks from plastic bottles as much as possible.
The recyclable glass bottle should be chosen as a healthy alternative. It is also important for your own health to keep chemicals of all kinds out of your life as much as possible. Plastic outer packaging for vegetables and fruit can be avoided by buying at the weekly market. If plasticizers are indeed confirmed to be one of the causes of chalking teeth, then all products containing plasticizers should be avoided. Plasticizers are contained in numerous products, including perfume, plastic toys, rubber, caoutchouc, paints, brittle materials such as plastic or adhesives.
It is to be feared that such substances will cause more than just chalk teeth as consequential damage in the long term. A demineralization of the tooth substance could also indicate that the affected persons also have a demineralization of the bones. This could later lead to osteoporosis.