It seems like chemicals are all around us, often showing up in things we use everyday, including cosmetics, household appliances, and plastic bottles. Unfortunately, these chemicals may be causing many health problems. According to recent research presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology, chemicals in plastics may be damaging children’s tooth enamel by interfering with hormones that stimulate tooth enamel development. Enamel is one of the hardest substances in the body and it is found on the outer layer of each tooth. It is made up of mainly minerals and serves the purpose of protecting your teeth from plaque and ultimately tooth decay.
Researchers looked at the effects of daily doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) alone or with Vinclozolin on rats. BPA is chemical commonly found in plastics including water bottles and food containers, and vinclozolin is a common fungicide typically found on raspberries, lettuce, kiwi, and onions. Both BPA and vinclozolin are referred to as endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that interfere with mammalian hormones. The doses given were similar to those a human would be exposed to daily from birth to 30 days old. Then, researchers took cell samples from the rats’ teeth and found that the expression of genes involved in mineralization (important for tooth enamel) were impaired due to the exposure to BPA and vinclozolin. They concluded that children with developing teeth who are exposed to these chemicals could be at higher risk of having molar incisor hypermineralization (MIH), which can lead to tooth sensitivity and damaged tooth enamel. It is important to note that once tooth enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced!
In addition, researchers analyzed rat ameloblast cells, which deposit enamel during tooth development. They found that sex hormones including estrogen and testosterone helped boost tooth enamel development. However, exposure to BPA and vinclozolin blocked these hormones from functioning properly, which as a result weakened tooth enamel. Leading researcher, Dr. Katia Jedeon stated, “Tooth enamel starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and ends at the age of 5, so minimizing exposure to endocrine disruptors at this stage in life as a precautionary measure would be one way of reducing the risk of enamel weakening.” Further research on other chemicals found in things we commonly use are currently being studied. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that many endocrine disruptors have the greatest health threat to individuals during early infant development.
If you have concerns about chemicals impacting you children, your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Van is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and is passionate about improving the health of all of his patients.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.