Growth lines in baby teeth track weight gain in adolescents

Growth lines in baby teeth track weight gain in adolescentsGrowth lines in baby teeth indicate weight gain during early adolescence, researchers have discovered.

Children with a faster biorhythm weighed and gained less weight – whereas those with a slow biorhythm produced greater weight gain.

Published in Communications Medicine, research found adolescents with a five or six-day cycle weighed less, gained less weight, and had the smallest change in their body mass index over the course of 14 months.

Those with a slower biorhythm – such as a seven or eight-day cycle – produced the greatest weight gain.

Dr Carolina Loch, of the University of Otago’s Faculty of Dentistry, said all aspect of the body’s metabolism have a clock. While some have a 24-hour circadian rhythm, others have near-weekly rhythms.

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Previously unknown link

‘We have a marker of this biological clock in days imprinted inside the milk teeth,’ said Dr Loch.

‘This relates to many aspects of our metabolism, not only tooth growth. Fewer growth lines equal a faster biorhythm and a faster metabolism.

‘They show a previously unknown link between markers of biorhythms in teeth – similar to the growth rings we see in trees, our teeth also show a similar structure – and weight gain.’

Researchers collected baby teeth that had been shed and took monthly weight, height, and lower leg length measurements of 125 children.

Dr Patrick Mahoney, of the University of Kent, added: ‘The next step is to determine if the link we have discovered extends to related adverse health outcomes for adults.

‘Potentially, milk teeth may hold a record of this information many years before those outcomes can manifest in adults.’

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