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Impact of radiation and chemotherapy on the risk of dental abnormalities in early childhood

Professors Kim Yoon-ji of the Department of Orthodontics (Left) and Chung Nack-Gyun of the Department of Pediatrics (right) explained that anticancer therapies like chemotherapy or radiation at a young age can harm dental health. (image: www.cmcseoul.or.kr)
Dental Tribune ASEAN

Dental Tribune ASEAN

Mon. 13. March 2023

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Dental health is one aspect of life that significantly influences the quality of life. Children with cancer who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, a cancer treatment that includes transferring healthy hematopoietic stem cells, experience abnormal dental growth.

 

A research team at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital led by professors Chung Nack-Gyun of Pediatrics and Kim Yoon-ji of the Department of Orthodontics found that anticancer therapies like chemotherapy or radiation at a young age can harm dental health.

“We were able to undertake the study because Seoul St. Mary's Hospital has a great deal of expertise in treating dental patients who have received chemotherapy and many hematopoietic stem cell transplant cases,” according to Professor Kim.

The study was conducted on four age groups; less than 2.5 years old, 2.6–5.0 years old, 5.1–7.5 years old, and 7.5–10 years old. These groups were formed from 153 patients who visited the Department of Pediatrics at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital when they were 10 years old or less.

After receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplants, all of them had their dental panoramic X-rays taken. Each group had patients with tooth loss, dwarf teeth, and root dysplasia. After conducting the study, the team was able to confirm that patients who took chemotherapy when tooth growth was taking place at a younger age had more severe dental dysplasia.

Kim highlighted that routine dental check-ups are necessary both before and after chemotherapy to enhance one's quality of life. This is mainly because it enables patients to eat properly and absorb nutrients consistently, as such oral health is seen as crucial for recovery.

Many strategies are currently being looked for to improve a child's life following therapy as the survival rate of children's cancer rises.

Professor Chung added, “As a result of analyzing the gathered data over an extended period, this report indicates the correlation with abnormal tooth development, suggesting that in the case of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation at an early age in the future, efforts must be made to reduce the effects on tooth development before and after transplantation treatment.”

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