Why Do Your Teeth Feel Chalky?

Posted on: 15 August 2023

It can be disconcerting to notice that your teeth feel chalky. They may feel brittle, weak, and generally unsound—none of which can be reversed by brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth. The problem is likely to be found within the very composition of your dental enamel, which is the tooth's robust outer layer. Your dental enamel may have slowly developed a condition called hypocalcification.

Lack of Mineralization

Hypocalcification does not typically constitute a dental emergency, although it could conceivably increase your chances of one as the condition will weaken your teeth. For the time being, it's acceptable to schedule a checkup with your dentist. Your teeth are at risk because they failed to correctly mineralize. Their surface enamel developed with an inadequate amount of calcium and other minerals needed to reach full density. Enamel is softer, and therefore more vulnerable to corrosion (which leads to tooth decay). The progression of this corrosion has led to your teeth feeling chalky.

Possible Causal Factors

Some causal factors for hypocalcification are avoidable, whereas others are not. Your dental enamel may have been progressively losing its mineral content. This process often has a dietary cause—linked to an acidic diet coupled with inadequate dental hygiene. However, your enamel may not have properly formed due to genetic factors beyond your control. Ameloblasts are cells that form dental enamel, and there must be an adequate number of functional ameloblasts to ensure a robust layer of enamel formation. A reduced number of functional ameloblasts leads to thin and soft enamel, which is prone to hypocalcification.

Assessment and Treatment

A dental checkup may reveal additional concerns caused by hypocalcification, such as cavities and other irregularities in your dental enamel. As such, treatment depends on the specifics of your case. Mild hypocalcification that hasn't yet affected the structural integrity of your teeth may only require ongoing monitoring in conjunction with extra fluoride to ensure that your teeth remain sufficiently mineralized. Teeth that have begun to corrode (and may have lost their surface enamel) require stronger measures. Your dentist may opt to perform a procedure known as bonding, which involves using tooth-colored resin to create a layer of artificial enamel, thereby protecting the tooth beneath. Heavily corroded teeth may need to be fully contained inside a porcelain dental crown.

Increased sensitivity, toothache, and even tooth loss can be associated with tooth hypocalcification. If your teeth begin to feel chalky and this sensation cannot be brushed away, please consult a dentist.