Children, Chemicals and Cavities

Our modern world offers plenty of conveniences and technological advances. Unfortunately, they sometimes result in unforeseen harm. A recent study by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry identified a link between a certain chemical Americans used for decades and dental caries in children.

What are PFAS?

Since the 1940, many consumer products contain a man-made chemical group referred to as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. These chemicals help everyday products increase their resistance to heat, oil, stains, grease and water. When used with a polymer coating, PFAS add various types of resistance for clothing, adhesives, furniture, cardboard, food packaging and non-stick surfaces. Part of the reason for this effective resistance is that the chemical bonds of PFAS are very difficult to break down. Unfortunately, after their promotion and use nationwide, scientists linked these chemicals to health problems like heart disease and high cholesterol, causing domestic manufacturers to remove PFAS from their products. They are still found in foreign products, however, and are regularly imported into the United States. Therefore, they have seeped into our environment and still see common use.

A Pediatric Connection to PFAS

A recent study reported in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry shows the results. The blood of 629 children was analyzed for the presence and effect of 7 different PFAS. The study found that one in particular, perfluorodecanoic acid, was particularly persistent in the environment. The resulting data from the study showed a significant link between this chemical and dental cavities in the participating children. A current hypothesis suggests that perfluorodecanoic acid disrupts the healthy development of enamel. Further discovery is needed to clarify the matter.

The study also pointed to good news. Of the children who participated, ones who brushed their teeth at least twice a day had significantly less tooth decay than those who brushed only once a day or less. Also, children who visited their dentist within a year of the study also showed less tooth decay than the children who did not receive that professional assistance.

Preventing Pediatric Problems from PFAS

Parents have little control as to what chemicals permeate the environment. But in regards to PFAS, brushing twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly protects your child’s tooth enamel from potential deterioration due to chemical influences. Your routine of dental hygiene is a thus a primary line of defense against poor oral health.

The Placerville Dental Group is happy to help you shore up the oral defenses for your child. Give us a call, or schedule an appointment with us online. Let’s make sure your child’s tooth enamel is strong, healthy, and intact!


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