‘Is molar incisor hypomineralisation (MIH) a new disease of the 21st century?’

Chelsea Cook* (Corresponding Author), Rosa Moreno Lopez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The term molar incisor hypomineralisation (MIH) was used by Weerheijm, Jälevik and Alaluusa in 2001 to describe hypomineralisation of systemic origin of 1–4 permanent first molars, frequently associated with affected incisors. MIH had previously been described by various terms such as, mottling of enamel and cheese molars. Assessment of MIH between studies is confounded by different terminology, resulting in difficulty in being able to ascertain when this disorder initially presented. Asking whether MIH is a new disease of the 21st century, or whether it existed previously, may help to establish if aetiological factors are liked to contemporary lifestyle.

Materials and methods
Cochrane Library, Embase, Medline and Web of Science were the databases used to conduct an extensive literature search. Specific search terms and inclusion/exclusion criteria were used to identify relevant publications. After the screening process, 13 articles were included in this review, 5 investigated archaeological specimens, whilst the remaining 8 were clinical studies, where participants were born before the 21st century.

Four common themes identified on review of the selected publications were: suggested rates of MIH between archaeological studies vastly differ, clinical studies carried out before 2001 suggest similar rates of MIH to present day, despite use of different terminology. Both archaeologic and clinical studies suggest MIH existed before the 21st century and publications using clinical assessment either focus on children or adolescents.

Analysis of the selected publications suggests that MIH was present before the 21st century. This is demonstrated in both clinical and archaeological studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Dental Journal
Issue number2
Early online date28 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the Elsevier R&P Agreement
This literature review was made possible through the scholarship funding from The Institute of Dentistry via The INSPIRE Scheme, Academy of Medical Sciences. We thank Dr Malcolm Stewart (Aberdeen Dental Institute, University of Aberdeen) for his help and valuable insight.


  • Molar incisor hypomineralisation
  • MIH
  • Cheese molars
  • MIH timeline
  • Archaeological dental studies


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