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A Science Tooth Fairy Proposes Screening Children’s Teeth for Hints of Future Mental Health Problems

December 18, 2019
by Boston Globe


Many parents collect their kids’ baby teeth as keepsakes when they fall out. But imagine doing it to help determine if the child has experienced emotional trauma that could lead to bigger problems later on.

A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital say they plan to recruit hundreds of Boston-area women who had children around the time of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings to test the viability of large-scale screening of baby teeth.

In a study published Tuesday, they argue that microscopic markings within children’s teeth could be a novel tool for detecting trauma. Early treatment, many doctors say, can head off health problems related to emotional wounds, especially mental health issues.

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