Gypsum teeth are a mineralization disorder: “Teeth are about ten times softer than normal teeth. You can think of them as honeycombs. These cavities are not empty, but filled with proteins that are not broken down as part of enamel formation. “. «This is how Professor Dr. Dr. Norbert Krämer, Director of the Polyclinic of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Giessen, describes the phenomenon. This means that teeth also often discolour, react very sensitively to heat and cold and develop tooth decay more frequently. Experts also refer to the disorder as hypomineralization of the molar incisors, or MIH for short. It affects teeth that mineralize early, even after birth: the first large molars are particularly common. “But now we see MIH on all permanent teeth,” says Kramer.
Chalky teeth are becoming more common
According to the 2016 German Oral Health Study, more than a quarter of 12-year-olds suffer from tooth chalking. This means that the proportion in this age group is even higher than in the case of tooth decay. According to Krämer, this study also included other structural damage to the teeth in addition to MIH. “There is a lack of reliable national data specific to this clinical picture.” According to regional studies, the number of cases is increasing rapidly: in Hesse, for example, the percentage of children with plaster teeth increased by 59 percent from 2003 to 2015.
Researchers still know little about the causes of gypsum teeth. According to new research, frequent respiratory diseases in the first year of life may play a role
play, which leads to a lack of oxygen in the blood. This in turn affects the formation of tooth enamel. “In this context, antibiotics are often given, which can also be a possible trigger. The administration of anti-labor drugs at birth is also discussed as a cause,” says Krämer. In addition, a calcium deficiency is conceivable as the cause, which doctors have increasingly found in children in recent years. Hormonally active substances such as bisphenol A, which is found in many plastic items such as baby pacifiers, plastic plates or cans, are also suspected. Studies with rats have already shown a connection with the development of MIH. However, human studies are still lacking.
According to Krämer, more research is needed to clearly clarify the causes and also to make preventative measures possible. “When it comes to tooth decay, one thing is clear: avoid sugar, brush your teeth regularly and carefully, apply fluoride. So far, we can’t give any advice on how to avoid chalky teeth,” says Krämer. An unsatisfactory situation, as the disorder can accompany many affected children into adulthood.
Regularly to the dentist
However, parents can do something, which is to have the first three check-ups at the dentist, also called FU for short (early diagnosis checks for
Sons). “In the case of MIH, the FU3 exam is particularly important. Here I recommend that parents make this appointment at the end of the recommended period, including
the 30th and 33rd month of life. So the second molars of milk are often already visible. If a mineralization disorder is detected here, the risk of MIH in permanent teeth is eleven times higher “, explains Krämer. In this case, a checkup every four or six months is necessary, during which the teeth are cleaned and treated with fluoride Prevent tooth decay and closely observe the development of enamel, because as always, the sooner the plaster teeth are detected, the greater the chances of treatment by preventing permanent damage to the teeth.