Chalky teeth - can they be prevented?

Project Details

Developmental defects of enamel (popularly termed "chalky teeth") are costly to patients and society. Many of these Developmental Dental Defects (DDDs = D3s) may become preventable if a better understanding of their causes and pathologies can be gained. Recently we assembled a multidisciplinary team to investigate the commonest D3, termed Molar Hypomineralisation, which manifests as soft and porous (chalky) enamel – worldwide, this congenital defect affects the two-year molars and/or six-year molars of 1-in-5 otherwise-healthy children, causing life-long risk of toothache, tooth breakdown and decay, and perhaps tooth loss in severe cases. Our initial proteomics investigation provided intriguing insights to the nature and possible cause of Molar Hypomineralisation, opening novel avenues for basic research and clinical developments. A novel detector for porous hydroxyapatite that has potential applications in preventive and restorative dentistry arose from this work.


Dr Jon Mangum, Project co-leader

Research Outcomes

Hubbard, MJ, Mangum, JE, Perez, VA, Williams R. A Breakthrough in Understanding the Pathogenesis of Molar Hypomineralisation: The Mineralisation-Poisoning Model, Front. Physiol., 2021; 12:802833 (open access)

Hubbard, MJ, Perez, VA, Ganss, B. 100 years of chalky teeth research: From pioneering histopathology to social good. Front Dent. Med., 2021; 1: 632534 (open access)

Hubbard, MJ. Molar Hypomineralization: What is the U.S. Experience (Revisited)? Pediatr. Dent., 2020; 42: 414-416 (PMID: 33369549)

Hubbard, MJ. Chalky teeth 100 years on: What comes next? J. Am. Dent. Assoc., 2020; 151: 803-805 (PMID: 33121592)

Perez, VA, Mangum, JE, Hubbard, MJ. Pathogenesis of molar hypomineralisation: Aged albumin demarcates chalky regions of hypomineralised enamel. Front. Physiol., 2020; 11: 579015 (PMID: 33101060)

Williams, R, Perez, VA, Mangum, JE, Hubbard, MJ. Pathogenesis of molar hypomineralisation: Hypomineralised 6-year molars contain traces of fetal serum albumin. Front. Physiol., 2020; 11: 619 (PMID: 32595522)

Hubbard MJ. Molar hypomineralization: What is the US experience? J Am Dent Assoc. 2018: 149, 329-330. (PMID: 29703275)

Perez VA, Mangum JE, Hubbard MJ. Direct evidence that KLK4 is a hydroxyapatite-binding protein. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018: 495:1896-1900. (PMID: 29229389)

Kirkham, J, Brookes, SJ, Diekwisch, TGH, Margolis, HC, Berdal, A, Hubbard, MJ. Enamel Research: Priorities and Future Directions, Front. Physiol., 2017; 8, 513 (open access)

Hubbard MJ, Mangum JE, Perez VA, Nervo GJ, Hall RK. Molar Hypomineralisation:  A Call to Arms for Enamel Researchers. Front Physiol. 2017: 8, 546. (PMID: 28824445)

Mangum JE, Crombie FA, Kilpatrick N, Manton DJ, Hubbard MJ. Surface integrity governs the proteome of hypomineralized enamel. J. Dent. Res. 2010; 89, 1160-1165 (PMID: 20651090)


Hubbard MJ , Mangum JE. Kit and method for detecting porous dental hydroxyapatite. (AU2011229153US10434037B2)

Translational outcomes

Online education resource:

Children's storybook:

Public awareness campaign:

Wikipedia: Chalky Teeth

Research Group

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

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