ENAMEL DEFECTS While this problem is certainly not life threatening many Akitas are affected with this disease. Enamel hypoplasia and enamel hypocalcification are now well recognised in the breed. So widespread is this problem it is commonly referred to as "Akita Teeth" suggesting itís strictly an Akita problem. This is however just a myth and all breeds can and do get this disease.
Enamel problems usually begin when the adult teeth are being formed. Enamel is made of crystals that mineralise into struts or rods. Cells that make enamel, stop production around 10 - 12 weeks of age and no more is ever produced. These cells are very sensitive to heat so any change in body temperature during this short period can produce adult teeth with enamel defects.
Enamel Hypoplasia is seen when there is a lack of enamel produced. Teeth look small in size and shape and are usually yellow-orange in colour. Pitting or furrowing of the tooth is evident with occasionally only the dentine present. Ringbarking or bands around the tooth can be seen if several episodes of disturbances were evident during times of enamel production. Genetic tendencies are where the entire enamel of all the teeth adult and baby are affected. The teeth are yellow-brown in colour, smooth glossy and hard. Their shape and size almost a miniature of normal teeth.
Enamel Hypocalcification is evident when the enamel is produced with little calcification or mineralisation of the struts or rods. These teeth are normal in size and shape, but their surface is chalky or opaque or brittle. Nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, fevers - gastrointestinal upsets or any disease that causes a higher than normal body temperature including certain chemical overloads during enamel production can cause this type of enamel defect. Genetic factors are characterised by normal amounts of enamel being produced with normal tooth shape however their surface would appear dull and the enamel opaque. With normal chewing behaviour parts of the enamel are lost. The teeth show irregularity and have a rough surface attracting plaque thereby leading to gum disease and tooth decay.