Dioxins in breast milk, plasticizers in toys, microplastics in cosmetics? Research into the causes of chalky teeth in children is just beginning. The “Barmer Dental 2021 Report” now supports another hypothesis and, after analyzing the treatment data, came to the conclusion: “Children have more chalky teeth if they received some antibiotics in the first four years of life.”
Eight percent of all children aged six to twelve or 450,000 children in Germany suffer from what is called chalky teeth. They appear in early childhood, at a certain stage of tooth formation. This leads to structural damage to the hard dental material. The result: the teeth are yellowish to brown in color and are porous. Sometimes the enamel is missing and therefore the outer protective layer is very hard in healthy teeth. Teeth are especially sensitive to cold triggers and can hurt when you brush. Although chalk teeth are the most common dental disease in children along with tooth decay, science has not yet explained its causes. The Barmer Dental 2021 report now supports one of the previously developed hypotheses: that antibiotics taken in the first four years of life could play a role.
Chalk teeth: these reasons have been discussed
Technically, the disease is called “molar-incisor-hypomineralization” (MIH) (Latin / Greek: “molars – incisors – mineral undermining”). The following potential causes or a combination of these are discussed in science as an explanatory approach: dioxin or PCBs in breast milk, microplastics in toys or in cosmetics, plastic laxatives such as BPA in baby products, problems during pregnancy, and diseases such as chicken pox. Water, but also the use of antibiotics.
Parmer examines the relationship between medicine and dental chalk
The recently mentioned hypothesis has now been fueled by the “Barmer Dental Report 2021” by the health insurance company of the same name. In order to track down the possible causes of diseases, a The method of gaining new knowledge is to analyze the billing data after the treatment of the insured person. Because, among other things, a link between taking certain medications and the development of chalky teeth is conceivable, experts from the health insurance company have now examined different combinations of prescription medications for children with and without chalky teeth. Various antibiotics that are used for respiratory or urinary tract infections, for example, have also been tested.
Children with chalky teeth: 10% more antibiotics
According to the results of this analysis, children with chalky teeth were prescribed antibiotics up to 10 percent more frequently than their peers in the first four years of life. without Chalk teeth. “Children are more likely to have chalky teeth if they receive some antibiotics in their first four years of life,” says Christoph Strub, CEO of Parmer. It is clear to him: “The prescription of antibiotics is clearly related to the appearance of chalk teeth.”
However, the Barmer Dental Report does not explicitly claim to have given a definitive answer to the problem. One only knows that there is a relationship between giving antibiotics and dental chalk. Exactly how this works has not been clarified by further research projects.
Data and facts on the topic “Chalk teeth”
In addition to researching the causes, the Parmer Dental Report also evaluated the phenomenon of chalky teeth. Here are some interesting facts and figures:
- Girls are affected more than boys. Recently, 9.1 percent of girls and 7.6 percent of boys had such a severe form of chalk teeth that they had to be treated by a dentist.
- Babies get chalk more often if the mother is very young or over 40 at the time of birth.
- Mothers who are 30-40 years old at birth are twice as likely to have children with chalky teeth.
(Source: Barmer Dental Report 2021)
Chalk teeth: mostly in North Rhine-Westphalia, least in Hamburg
Analysis of Barmer’s data also shows that there are huge differences in the appearance of chalk teeth within Germany that cannot be explained from a purely medical point of view. The comparison by federal state shows: the proportion of six to nine-year-olds with MIH who required treatment was highest in North Rhine-Westphalia at 10.2 percent and lowest in Hamburg at 5.5 percent. When looking at individual counties and metropolitan areas, the differences are even greater. The calculated incidence ranged from 3.3 percent in Memmingen in the Allgäu to 14.7 percent in Kaiserslautern in the Palatinate Forest. If you look for larger regional focal points, it turns out that children in far western and northeastern Germany in particular are affected by severe MIH.
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