For most people, baby teeth are just temporary teeth that we have until our mouth is ready for our adult teeth. But recent research shows that baby teeth may do more than this. They may give us a hint at what to expect in the future. A recent study from the University of Bristol and Massachusetts General Hospital found a link between baby teeth and mental health.
Details of the Study
The study looked at 70 baby teeth from 70 kids in a longitudinal study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Parents donated the baby teeth, which the researchers analyzed and compared to information about the kids and parents.
The researchers looked at stress lines, which are similar to the age rings on teeth. These growth or stress lines are different based on children’s experiences and environment. This applies to both the experiences in utero and the early years. The idea is that thicker lines indicate more stress. The study backed this up.
- Children of moms with anxiety or depression during pregnancy or other stressors had thicker rings
- Children of moms with severe lifetime depression had thicker rings
- Children of moms with any lifetime psychiatric problems had thicker rings
- Children of moms with larger support systems had thinner rings
Why It Matters
Early life events can affect our long-term mental health. The fact that we can see some of those early events in baby teeth may make it possible to predict future mental health.
While this study is interesting, it is not necessarily something that can be easily adapted on a large scale. For now, it’s best to focus on maintaining oral, physical, and mental health and helping your kids do the same. Get in the habit of having regular dental checkups from Dr. Sharma and address any oral problems early.
To schedule your regular check-ups or dental cleanings in Chicago, contact us today.