Children’s Dental Health and Thyroid Problems

My child’s teeth are not developing like they should. My friend who is a nurse said to have my child’s thyroid tested. Can thyroid problems be related to one’s dental health?

Thanks, Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Our thyroid creates two main hormones called thyroxin and lio-thyronine which are critical for energy production. The thyroid affects many systems within the body so it’s vital for it to function properly. If there is a malfunction with the thyroid it can cause the teeth and jaw to under develop compared to a healthy child. Enlarged gum tissue, a lot of tooth decay, and slower tooth development can develop from hypothyroidism which is when there is a deficiency of the hormones needed for proper functioning.

Reasons the thyroid may not be functioning properly:

  • Abnormality of the immune system that results in damage of the thyroid gland
  •  Failure of the pituitary gland to secrete thyroid stimulating hormone
  • A diet is deficient in nutrients, too much sugar, and processed foods
  • A lot of infections, chronic or not
  • Too many environmental toxins like mercury or copper in the body
  • Not enough sleep or too much stress
  • Food allergies

Symptoms of a thyroid problem in younger children:

  • Overweight and shortness in height is a sign that the thyroid is underactive
  • Delayed development of teeth
  • Protruding eyes and a puffy face
  • Hair may be thin
  • Dry skin
  • A protruded abdomen and Umbilical Hernia

Symptoms of a thyroid problem in a older child:

  • Tired all the time
  • Sensitive to cold temperature
  • Difficulty learning and a poor attention span
  • Skin in dry and flaky
  • Over sleeping or not getting enough sleep

Our best advice to you is to have your child’s thyroid tested by their physician, however make sure they perform the proper test which includes testing the free T3 and free T4 hormones because this will show a more conclusive diagnosis if something is wrong.

Post courtesy of Peck Family Dentistry, P.C.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Toddlers

Recently a friend of mine told me that xylitol could prevent tooth decay in children. I have never heard of this product before and was wondering if someone can give me some insight to this and if it is possible to prevent cavities?

Thanks, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

Over the last several years there has been much research completed on this natural occurring sweetener called xylitol. Studies have shown that when toddlers receive 8 grams of xylitol two times a day a 70% reduction in tooth decay is prevented during primary tooth eruption. Even though xylitol is a sweetener is does not break down like sugar and keeps our mouths at a neutral ph level. Remember the more acidic our mouths become the enamel starts to erode causing tooth decay. Xylitol prevents the bacteria that causes cavities from sticking to our teeth therefore less plaque is formed.

Xylitol can be found in such products like chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, syrup, mints, candy, and nasal spray. You can find xylitol products at your local health food stores and even on the internet. Xylitol not only is effective in children but also adults in the prevention of tooth decay as well as keeping our gums healthy. Always remember that good oral hygiene practices like brushing, flossing, a healthy diet, as well as visiting your dentist for routine dental cleanings are the major keys in preventing tooth decay.

Post Courtesy of Peck Family Dentistry, P.C.