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Dangers to dental health: Chalk teeth are a bigger problem than previously thought


Molar incisive hypomineralization overtakes tooth decay

Already 30 percent of 12 year olds are affected by so-called molar incisive hypomineralization (MIH). In terms of frequency, this tooth disease has already overtaken tooth decay in children and adolescents and can therefore be regarded as a widespread disease. Despite the widespread spread, there is a lot of confusion about this clinical picture, which is believed to be caused by plasticizers ingested from food. With proper prophylaxis, MIH-affected teeth can be preserved for life.

In a press conference of the German Society for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (DGZMK), Prof. Dr. Norbert Krämer recently presented the latest distribution and treatment options related to MIH. Krämer warns that MIH has undergone rapid development. Since the first appearance in 1987, the dental disease has developed into a real common disease. On average, ten to 15 percent of children suffer from the dental disease. According to the German Oral Health Study DMS V, as many as 30 percent of the twelve-year-olds are affected.

Chalk teeth - what is MIH?

Discolored and crumbling children's teeth do not have to be caries. MIH is a systemic disease that affects the structure of the tooth enamel. A disturbance in mineralization causes the structural anomaly. The permanent molars are often affected. The diseased teeth are then popularly referred to as "chalk teeth", which is due to the increased sensitivity to pain and reduced strength. In addition, such teeth are very sensitive to heat, cold and external influences such as brushing your teeth.

Plasticizers are suspected of being the cause

Plasticizers made of plastics such as bisphenol A are suspected to trigger this disease. They are found in numerous foods. The relationship has already been demonstrated in animal experiments. According to Krämer, other potential causes of MIH are pregnancy, infectious diseases, taking antibiotics, chickenpox, influences by dioxins and diseases of the upper respiratory tract. However, the exact causes are currently not sufficiently understood scientifically.

Proper prophylaxis can protect

Teeth affected by MIH are more easily affected by caries. With proper prophylaxis, the preservation of such teeth can still be ensured. At the press conference, Prof. Stefan Zimmer, President of the German Society for Preventive Dentistry, reported that MIH teeth have a rougher surface and a poorer quality of the substance. This results in a particular susceptibility to caries. Therefore, in addition to brushing your teeth, particularly intensive prophylaxis must be practiced in order to protect the teeth from caries, so that a radiant smile can be maintained through proper dental care.

Fluoridation measures

Professor Zimmer particularly recommends fluoridation measures, which should be carried out both at the dentist and at home, as suitable prophylaxis. According to Zimmer, regular examinations by the dentist, treatment with fluoride varnish and the restoration of the teeth using various techniques can help to maintain teeth that are affected by MIH for a lifetime with good care.

Different types

Clinically, the different manifestation of teeth with MIH is striking. While in some patients only individual cusps of the teeth are affected, the mineralization disorder in others extends over the entire tooth surface. The mild form often shows white-yellowish or yellow-brown areas up to brown spots on the teeth. The heavy form also shows chipped or missing tooth enamel or even a broken tooth.

Pay attention to the first signs

Affected patients often complain of pain when drinking, eating and brushing their teeth. This quickly becomes torture, especially for young patients. In such a case, the experts advise rapid therapeutic intervention. (vb)

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