Q&A With Dr Emma
Hi Dr Emma, my daughter had ‘crumbly’ teeth as a baby and her second teeth are quite 'yellow', is this all interlinked and why did it happen? Thank You! Mary, Sydney
There are a few different conditions which can cause teeth to be crumbly and weak. Amelogenesis imperfecta and dentinogenesis imperfecta are inherited genetic conditions in which the enamel or dentine of the teeth doesn't form properly. The result is teeth which are very weak, crumbly and decay easily. It's unlikely this is what was affecting your daughter's teeth though, as these conditions are very rare and her permanent teeth would also be affected.
On the milder end of the scale is enamel hypoplasia and enamel hypocalcification. These are due to some kind of whole-body disturbance at the time the teeth were forming, usually a severe illness, prolonged high fever, or stint on medication. The baby teeth are formed from around the 14th week of pregnancy right up until the 11th month of life, so if you were unwell yourself during pregnancy then it may have affected your daughter's teeth.
Finally, it may have simply been the situation at the time which led to your daughter's baby teeth decaying, such as saliva problems, diet and/or oral hygiene issues.
It's unlikely that her crumbly baby teeth are related to her current yellow teeth, unless she had a long-standing illness in her first 8 years of life. Just like some of us have long thick eyelashes, while others (like me!) have to paint them every day to make them visible, sometimes it's just how we're made. Yellow enamel is not necessarily a sign of disease or a problem, it's just yellow.
If you're concerned about your daughter's future decay risk, or the cosmetic issue of yellow teeth, your dentist will be able to examine her and let her know the options for prevention and treatment.