Whether a person is on their primary (baby) set of teeth or has graduated to their secondary (adult) teeth, those teeth are coated with protective dental enamel. This enamel is 96% mineral and is actually the strongest substance in your body. Despite its strength, it can still be compromised by a combination of slack oral hygiene and dietary acids. This is something that happens over time, so parents might be troubled when this seems to be happening to their children, despite their dental and diet habits.
Tooth Decay in Children
It's not as though children remain unaffected by tooth decay, and this can sometimes appear to be happening with alarming speed. But why is this the case? You might have taught your children to practice healthy dental habits, along with ensuring that sugary foods and drinks aren't a regular part of their diet. When this decay is centred on your children's molars, it can be caused by a lack of dental enamel.
Lack of Enamel
Hypomineralised second primary molars are not especially common, but the condition is related to the fact that your child's dental enamel has failed to develop on these second primary molars, meaning that they're more vulnerable to decay, with healthy dental habits and diet being insufficient to prevent this damage.
The precise cause of hypomineralised second primary molars is not entirely clear. It happens in the early stages of enamel formation, which occurs when a child is still in the womb. Although smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy are thought to contribute to the issue, it can also be due to a simple, unavoidable illness during pregnancy. In many cases, the precise cause is a mystery.
Whatever the cause, your child's teeth are still vulnerable and will need extra protection. Many instances of hypomineralised second primary molars are identified by a dentist during a routine examination. When a cavity has already formed, a filling will be necessary, but the issue will ideally be identified prior to this. When your dentist suspects that your child has hypomineralised second primary molars, they will often apply a protective sealant to these teeth, giving them a synthetic protective coating to replace the absent dental enamel.
Although hypomineralised second primary molars definitely require treatment and ongoing monitoring, the condition is limited to primary teeth, so when these are naturally shed and replaced with permanent teeth, these teeth shouldn't be similarly affected. Reach out to a dentist to learn more.