Chemicals in Food Packaging may Cause Irreversible Tooth Damage in Children
Bisphenol A (BPA) and vinclozolin have both been identified as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormone functioning and may increase risks for cancer, reproductive problems, and birth defects. A new study from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research has found that these same chemicals interfere with the hormones responsible for the growth of strong and healthy tooth enamel, resulting in a condition known as molar incisor hypermineralization (MIH).
MIH is characterized by enamel defects in the molars and incisors that begins as the teeth are developing. Once the enamel is damaged, it cannot be repaired, making MIH a permanent problem for those children who develop it. BPA, a chemical used in food packaging, and vinclozolin, a fungicide common in orchards, alter the expression of two genes – KLK4 and SLC5A8 – responsible for enamel production. This, in turn, inhibits proper enamel development, causing permeant damage to the teeth.
Tooth enamel begins to develop in the third trimester of pregnancy. Mothers who drink or eat out of plastic containers increase risks for fetal BPA exposure. Likewise, eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables without first properly washing them can result in fetal exposure to vinclozolin. What’s more, both of these chemicals can continue to pose risks to enamel development until a child reaches age five.
The connection between oral health and smart lifestyle decisions has been firmly established by the medical community. The best way to protect your teeth and the teeth of your children is by making healthy lifestyle choices – including avoiding BPA, vinclozolin, and other endocrine disruptors – and maintaining a solid daily oral hygiene practice. If you have questions about the mouth/body connection or about steps you can take to protect the oral health of your family, our Cincinnati dentists will happily discuss these issues during your next routine visit to our office.
To schedule an appointment at our Cincinnati family dentistry practice, please use our online contact form or call (513) 398-4448 today. We proudly serve families living in Ohio, Southeast Indiana, and Northern Kentucky.