Cementum rings record biological

Cementum rings record biological events-Your teeth may record your life’s most important biological events

The clues to what the environment was like at various times in the past can be given the sediment layers in rock or tree rings similarly your teeth can also give some clues about the biological events. The material that makes up the tooth roots preserves a lifelong record of stresses on the body, including illness, childbirth, and even prison time as per the researchers at New York University.

When the tooth pops out of the jaw, most of it doesn’t start growing immediately but the cementum – tissue around the roots does. The cementum adds new layers after the tooth surfaces regularly. In this research published in the journal Scientific Reports, the hypothesis that major physiological events would leave their mark in cementum layers was studied.

To team analyzed 47 teeth from 15 individuals in the age group of 25 to 69 to test

this hypothesis. The life histories of every one of these people were studied including the points like whether they had given birth, any significant diseases or moved from rural places to cities. At what ages these events occurred was also known t them.

Many imaging techniques were used to study the cementum rings to determine at what ages different rings relate to. And different colored rings showed up to correspond to the ages that people underwent significant biological events.

For example, the researchers discovered a unique line in one of the samples that corresponded to a 17.6 years old individual. When the scientists checked the documents, they found that the individual had actually relocated from a rural place to a city at the age of 18. Various other rings in various other teeth occurred around the very same time as their owners were experiencing menopause, childbirth, systemic ailments, and even being in prison.

Paola Cerrito, lead author of the research said, “A tooth is not a static and dead portion of the skeletal system”. “It repeatedly changes and responds to physiological processes. We can see the ‘tooth rings’ similar to tree rings, which are the continuously growing layers of tissue on the dental root. These cementum rings record biological events and is an archive of a person’s physiological experiences as well as stress factors from maternities, health problems, menopause and also imprisonments and that all leave a unique perpetual mark.”

The researchers stated that it’s not the exact science. The timing can be off by a couple of years, and it can be tested when the patient’s history is known thoroughly. A specific event cannot be determined just by looking at a ring, which means that researchers can’t look at a mark on a tooth and identify that its owner had pregnancy at the age of 25. This study improves our understanding of our very own physiology.


Author: Sruthi S