Children with higher concentrations of a certain chemical in their blood are more likely to get cavities, according to a new US study.
Manufactured chemical groups called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances are universal as a result of extensive manufacturing and use. Although manufacturers no longer use PFAS to make non-stick cookware, carpet, cardboard and other products, they persist in the environment.
Scientists have linked them to a range of health problems—from heart disease to high cholesterol—but now researchers from the West Virginia University School of Dentistry are exploring how they affect dental health.
The team—who published their findings in Their findings the Journal of Public Health Dentistry— investigated whether higher concentrations of PFAS were associated with greater tooth decay in children. One of them—perfluorodecanoic acid—was linked to dental cavities.
“Perfluorodecanoic acid, in particular, has a long molecular structure and strong chemical bonds; therefore, it remains in the environment longer,” Dr R. Constance Wiener said.
“As a result, it is more likely to have negative health consequences such as dental caries.”
According to other research, perfluorodecanoic acid may disrupt the healthy development of enamel, which is what makes teeth hard. That disruption can leave teeth susceptible to decay.
However, when it comes to cavities, scientists haven’t parsed perfluorodecanoic acid’s mechanism of action yet. The topic warrants further investigation.