Monday, January 28, 2013

Teeth Erupt Earlier In Obese Children

(Photo courtesy scientificamerican.com.)
Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed, increasing from 7% of children ages six to 11 in 1980, to 20% in 2008.  Now, a study in Obesity reveals that the teeth of overweight children erupt earlier than those of non-obese youngsters.

These findings have significant dental and orthodontic importance for two reasons. First, nature didn’t intend for primary teeth to be in the mouth for an extended period, and this increases the risk of dental caries (cavities).  Second, the unusually early appearance of primary teeth can disrupt the mouth’s natural “tooth sequencing,” which can increase the likelihood of misaligned permanent teeth.

What is it about obesity that pushes primary teeth up so early?  Scientists know that obese children tend to reach puberty at an earlier age than their trim counterparts.  It is likely that an abundance of fat cells (which can stimulate growth) causes the jaws to “rev up” earlier than normal.

The bottomline is that for children who tend to be overweight, early dental exams are extremely important to prevent decay and to ensure that teeth are growing in properly.


If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  .  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

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