If you’ve noticed your child’s baby teeth have creamy brown or extra-white coloured spots, it could be a sign they have chalky teeth, and it’s important your consult a dentist sooner rather than later.
So, what are chalky teeth and what do they mean for your child’s dental health?
What are chalky teeth?
Estimated to affect up to one in six children, chalky teeth is a condition that sees the teeth enamel weakened due to low calcium mineralisation.
Technically known as hypomineralisation, it can leave the teeth more prone to decay, but these soft teeth also have the tendency to break down whether they are subject to decay or not.
The real concern with chalky teeth is that often it can impact the first permanent teeth that emerge when a child is around six or seven, and ultimately it can lead to tooth loss and extraction.
What causes chalky teeth?
Researchers are yet to fully understand what causes chalky teeth, but it’s believed the problem starts while the teeth are still forming below the gumline, most likely during a childhood illness. That said, if parents or grandparents had chalky teeth, that can also be a contributing factor.
Dental hygiene, diet and lifestyle are not related to chalky teeth.
Signs and symptoms
The major clue your child has chalky teeth is the appearance of creamy-brown or ultra-white spots.
Parents may first observe these on a child’s baby teeth, and it could be a sign your child’s adult molars will also be affected.
Adult molars are the teeth at greatest risk of damage and are the most important to protect as ideally they will serve your child throughout the course of their life.
What to do
If you believe your child may have chalky teeth, it’s important to consult your dentist as quickly as possible.
Currently there is no cure for chalky teeth, but early identification and dental treatment can help minimise the risk of decay, tooth loss and extraction. Ideally children should first see a dentist shortly after the first baby teeth erupt or by the age of 12 months. Then an annual visit to the dentist is recommended.
Should a dentist determine your child has chalky teeth they will monitor the condition closely, managing the situation in a bid to prevent pain and tooth loss. One of the major challenges with chalky teeth is that traditional fillings aren’t always suitable as they require a healthy tooth surface to adhere to.
Instead, treatment might involve the use of crowns or pediatric stainless steel crowns in an effort to protect the child’s teeth from breaking down and decay.
Meanwhile, Melbourne researchers have also set up a website called http://www.thed3group.org to offer parents, children and health professionals more information about chalky teeth and how to recognise them.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.