Hypomineralization is a dental condition that is commonly referred to as 'chalky teeth.' Children with chalky teeth have white marks on their teeth. The condition is so common amongst children that it has been categorized as an epidemic by researchers in Melbourne, Australia. The study indicates that 1 in 6 or 15 to 20% of children have chalky teeth because their enamel is less mineralized, which causes it to become soft, rough, and porous.
In severe cases, chalky teeth can lead to dental decay, and the only way to relieve pain and discomfort is by undergoing a tooth extraction procedure. Currently, there is no cure for chalky teeth, but with prevention and early detection, you can save your child's teeth.
Let's look at some of the causes of chalky teeth in children to understand this dental condition a little better.
Premature birth can affect enamel formation because the essential minerals that were needed to form the enamel were not properly absorbed by the fetus in the mother's womb. Even babies that are born with a low birth weight are at the risk of developing chalky teeth.
Malnutrition and calcium deficiency is the leading cause of hypomineralization or chalky teeth in children. Calcium, fluoride, and phosphorous are essential minerals that make our enamel strong. When children are malnourished and their body becomes deficient in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, like the rest of their body, their teeth too start to show signs of weakness and stunted growth. This results in the appearance of chalky teeth.
Fever and Infections
Frequent fevers and infections in children can hamper the formation of enamel in children because the calcification process gets disrupted. Children who are sick often have discolored teeth and uneven enamel because calcium does not get evenly distributed. This causes the chalky appearance of teeth.
Certain drugs and antibiotics like amoxicillin can cause chalky white teeth. Studies have shown that amoxicillin exposes children's teeth to excess fluoride. This condition is known as fluorosis. Fluorosis can disrupt the healthy formation of enamel and give teeth an uneven, chalky appearance. As a result, children's teeth can have brown stains, white spots, or pits in them.
Hypomineralization or chalky teeth should be treated immediately because the failure to do so can result in advanced tooth decay, and the only option left will be to extract your children's teeth.
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