Hypomineralisation (also known as ‘chalky teeth’) is a developmental condition that affects teeth as they are forming during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first four years of life. Enamel on these teeth has marked, chalky looking areas with less mineral than unaffected enamel.
Let us take a closer look at what causes chalky teeth?
Irregularities in tooth enamel can happen at any point during or after enamel formation. Usually it does occur after formation via the breakdown of enamel from bacteria and its subsequent acid waste. This is known as ‘tooth decay’ – a preventable issue which can be solved with good oral hygiene and a tooth cleaning/flossing regime.
Unfortunately hypomineralised teeth can also occur naturally. Other causes of hypomineralisation can be fever, some antibiotics, or infant trauma while the teeth are still in the development stage. Common areas for chalky teeth are the front central incisors (middle teeth) and first molars (six year old molars) as these are developing around the time of birth (i.e. complications are more likely at this time).
The first major problem hypomineralisation causes in your mouth is poor formation of the enamel layer (it’ll be mineral deficient) – this means the layer will be more likely to break down and suffer from tooth decay. Secondly, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing look – the ‘chalky’ appearance of the tooth/teeth is very difficult to remove without drilling and preparing the tooth.
What causes chalky teeth and how to prevent it?
Regular dental check-ups and maintenance are used to locate and keep an eye on high risk areas on your teeth. If you’re aware of a situation where your teeth are suffering from weaker enamel, we’ll be able to identify it and as a result you will be able to focus on maintaining proper oral hygiene in these areas, thus helping to prevent tooth decay.
If you’d like to talk to one of our friendly dentists about your teeth please contact us on (07) 5427 0880 or make an appointment online with your dentist.