Category: Author: BurbaBuzz
Is it possible that analyzing your teeth could give hints to your odds of having certain neurodegenerative diseases?
A team of researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center think so. Recent findings show that the amount of early exposure to the mineral iron can lead to developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.
The Role of Chemical Exposure
Analyzing the amount of chemical exposure received during childhood is at the root of the research. According to Mount Sinai’s exposure biology director, Dr. Manish Arora, the composition of the teeth provides the history, in chronological order, of previous chemical exposures throughout your life.
This may sound a bit like sixth grade ecology class when you examined slices of tree trunks to count the rings and determine the tree’s age. In addition to age, those rings also give clues as to what conditions the tree experienced during each year. Likewise, the composition of the teeth can tell what types of exposures a person has had that may have a lasting impact on their health, according to the findings.
The research is based on looking at the iron deposits in teeth to identify exposure. Arora and his team believe these findings could lead to monitoring people on a global scale to determine how pollution is impacting their health.
You are what you eat
The research also found they could identify breast-fed infants versus formula-fed infants. Arora and his partner Dr. Dominic Hare, have been careful to explain that the technologies are what is giving them the capability to understand a person’s diet history, reaching back up to 60 years in some cases.
This important research plays into the search for a connection between an increased iron intake in infants and the development of neurodegenerative diseases. It is believed by some that abnormal processing of iron has a role in their development. According to the current research, the conclusion is not that formula fed babies will develop the conditions but rather it could be one more factor in the combination that results in such diseases.
Clues to your health
While Dr. Hare and Arora continue their research into exploring the role of iron intake in infants, from the dental side of the research, it’s exciting to learn that our teeth can provide insights into our overall health and potentially our future health. As technology progresses, we will continue to learn more, but in the meantime remember to keep brushing your teeth two times a day, flossing daily, and getting check-ups.
Changing Lives, One Smile at a Time
Dr. Randall Burba is an AACD accredited dentist, practicing in Salem, MA. He considers himself an artist – with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking. Follow Burba Dental Partners on Twitter and Facebook.