Hypomineralization, or chalky teeth, results from insufficient enamel formation and is a common issue found in infants. Teeth feel gritty or powdery instead of smooth due to a lack of minerals, which gradually weakens them. Weak teeth are more susceptible to breakdowns and decay because they lack protective coverings. Below, learn what causes chalky teeth and how you and your dentist can treat it.
4 Reasons for Chalky, Gritty-Feeling Teeth
1. Premature Birth
Hypomineralization is most common among children. Those born prematurely are vulnerable to chalky teeth because there was not enough time for enamel to form correctly. Children born three months before their estimated due dates are at the greatest risk. If your baby was born with chalky teeth, ask your dentist when you can start fluoride treatments and ensure the child receives sufficient teeth and bone-building nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium.
2. Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
Poor prenatal care can also cause chalky teeth in babies, as fetuses receive all their nutrients from their mothers. Women who do not consume enough vitamin A, C, D, and calcium, put their babies at risk for hypomineralization. This is also true for those who smoke, take drugs, or do not put on enough weight. Smoking softens the mother’s enamel over time as well. These issues all interfere with fetal nutrient reception. Staying healthy throughout pregnancy avoids this issue.
Genetics provide another explanation for insufficient enamel development. Hereditary conditions such as congenital enamel hypoplasia cause abnormally small teeth that may not have enough enamel. Other genetic conditions also believed to cause hypomineralization are seckel, usher, and Ellis-van Creveld syndromes. If you or your child has a genetic condition resulting in chalky teeth, discuss treatment options with your dentist, such as fluoride sealants and dental crowns. If you believe your baby has chalky teeth, schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible to determine a treatment course.
4. Certain Foods
Various foods with gritty textures can cause teeth to feel temporarily chalky, such as nuts, chocolate, dry beans, strawberries, and leafy greens. These foods contain oxalic acid that combines with bodily calcium to form tiny crystals on the teeth. Saliva alone cannot remove these crystals, but brushing your teeth can eliminate this grit.
Discuss chalky teeth solutions with the dentists at Apex Dental Care in Issaquah, WA, to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. These experienced dentists have proudly served King County since 2002, offering everything from routine teeth cleanings to fixed bridges and oral surgery. Call (425) 837-0383 today to schedule an appointment or visit the website for new patient information. Get additional dental care tips on Facebook.