Research Finds Significantly More Chemicals in Baby Teeth of Children with ASD Compared to Neurotypical Children

April 15, 2024

Authors Propose Differences in Xenobiotic Metabolism as Cause of Chemical Variances Between Groups

Another new study led by researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has analyzed deciduous (baby) teeth from 22 ASD-diagnosed children and 20 typically developing children. Deciduous teeth act as significant indicators of chemical exposure during fetal development. The team used Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GC × GC-TOF MS) to examine and evaluate the participant’s baby teeth. Results indicated a significantly higher number of chemicals in teeth from children with ASD compared to those from typically developing children. Of over 11,000 chemicals detected in this research, 201 were identified as unique matches with known Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) identifiers. Remarkably, 27% of these chemicals were statistically different between teeth from children with and without ASD, with the majority being significantly elevated in children on the spectrum. The elevated levels of these chemicals in the teeth of children with autism primarily originated from pesticides and plastics commonly found in household products, consistent with prior research associating these substances with an increased risk of autism. While the reasons for these higher chemical concentrations in children on the spectrum remain unclear, one theory suggests differences in xenobiotic metabolism between groups. Emerging research highlights the interplay between environmental exposures and genetics in autism risk. The authors suggest that given the complexity of these interactions, immediate preventive measures, such as avoiding pesticides, plastics, and certain personal care products, especially among women of childbearing age, are recommended to mitigate potential neurodevelopmental risks.

Original Study

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