Iodine Deficiency Hurts Mind-Body-Mouth
What All Mothers Need to Know About Children’s IQ and Dental Development
Question: What is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation?
Answer: Iodine Deficiency during pregnancy (1, 2)
Iodine deficiency is also linked to higher incidence of ADHD and lower IQ (3), and weak enamels and delayed eruption of teeth (4). Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones to keep the body warm and all the cells working. The developing fetal brain is completely dependent on maternal thyroid in the first trimester (5).
A woman low on iodine and thyroid risk having children with low intelligence, short stature, underdeveloped jaws, and dental problems. Oral manifestations of endocrine dysfunction often may be observed initially by the dentist (6), including but not limited to:
- Mouth breathing, large swollen tongue, anterior open bite, small jaws (4) — which are also risk factors for sleep apnea later
- Dry mouth, which can lead to susceptibility to cavities and gum disease
- Pain: “Low thyroid is almost a constant finding in Dental Distress Syndrome” (7)
Common symptoms of low thyroid include:
- Fatigue, weight gain, headache, brain fog
- Thinning or missing outer third of the eye brow
- Hoarse voice, puffy face, constipation, PMS
- Cold hands & feet, thinning hair, fading memory
- Hoarse voice, swollen tongue
A mother with these symptoms prior to or during pregnancy may wish to have her children checked for dental signs of iodine deficiency. For more information, click on Iodine And Your Child’s Brain Function And IQ by Dr.Joseph Mercola, which includes a lecture by endocrinologist Dr.Jorge Flechas, MD.
One gram of prevention beats a ton of cure. Here is what every woman needs to know about iodine deficiency:
- “Even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy, which may be present in some women in the United States, may be associated with low intelligence in children (8)
- Iodine requirements are increased ≥ 50% during pregnancy (9)
- Severe iodine deficiency in the mother has been associated with miscarriages, stillbirth, preterm delivery, congenital abnormalities (8) and learning disabilities (3)
- Lower IQ of 12-13.5 points are seen in iodine deficient populations, whereas Iodine supplementation before or during early pregnancy generally increases developmental scores in young children by 10-20% (9)
Iodine and thyroid hormones require expert monitoring and balancing by medical professionals. For referral to a laboratory with special focus on thyroid testing, please contact us.
As part of a health care team, a dentist plays an important role in detecting thyroid abnormalities (10). Timely recognition and referral by a knowledgeable dentist at checkup time can contribute to the total health of children and mothers.
Dunn JT, J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2001;14 Suppl 6:1469-73.
Delange F, Thyroid. 1994 Spring;4(1):107-28.
Vermiglio F, ADHD in Offsprings, J. Clinic. Endocr Metab, 2004, 89(2): 6054-60.
Chandna S, Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 July; 15(Suppl2): S113–S116.
de Escobar GM, et al, Public Health Nutr. 2007 Dec;10(12A):1554-70.
Ionescu O, and others, Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2004 Oct;65(5):459-65.
Fonders A , Dental Distress Syndrome Quantified, (1987) Basal Facts, 9(4), 141-167
American Thyroid Association.
Zimmerman MB, Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;26 Suppl 1:108-17.
Pinto A., Glick M., J Am Dent Assoc. 2002 Jul;133(7):849-58.