South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) & the

South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) & the

South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) & the Tooth Fairy Project
Melanie Taverna MSDH, Rahma Mungia BDS, MSc, Monica Castillo, Lynne Heilbrun MPH
Dr. Raymond Palmer, UT Health San Antonio, Texas

Background

Little Teeth.

Big Impact.

This ongoing cross-sectional prospective cohort pilot study was
initiated in early March 2017.

The STOHN is a Community Translation Science Award (CTSA)
supported organization of dental practitioners who work together with
researchers to answer meaningful questions that will improve clinical
decision-making and patient outcomes.

To date six offices have been enrolled, five trained and thirteen
parents have completed surveys and are sending in teeth.

STOHN is continually thriving towards practitioner engagement and
retention by encouraging involvement in network studies.
Dr. Palmer and STOHN are collaborating to implement the Tooth Fairy
study in the network by collecting deciduous teeth and educating dental
practitioners and their patients about exposure to chemical toxins and
etiologies of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD),
affect 1 in 68 births, thus increasing numbers of ASD patients who may
present in our offices.
People are unknowingly exposed to thousands of untested toxic
chemicals daily. Records of these exposures have been sought using
blood, urine, and hair samples. However, these do not provide data about
pre-natal exposures; remnants of which may be incorporated into
developing deciduous teeth.
These teeth can then be analyzed for correlations between exposure and
neurodevelopmental disorders.

Purpose

Results

Initial feedback from participating practices is positive about the
education on environmental exposure.
Illustration by Ian Harrowell, Christine Austin,
and Manish Arora

Materials and Methods
STOHN will enroll 10 dental offices, which will enroll 20 parents of
healthy children with no diagnosed disorders.
STOHN Research Coordinator will train practitioners on study
procedures and Lynne Heilbrun would provide education awareness
of exposures that can result in Toxicant-induced Loss of Tolerance
(TILT) and identify resources to reduce exposure.
The study will consist of two parts, a survey (online or in paper) and
the donation of deciduous teeth.
The survey will assess basic demographics, the mothers pregnancy
and medical history, and questions about the childrens
diagnoses/communication skills.

Above is a spectrograph of chemicals detected in a tooth of a 6 year
old boy w/ ADHD, dyslexia, and auditory processing disorder.

Conclusion

The purpose of this study is to investigate potential biomarkers of
exposure in deciduous teeth and their impact on neurological
development.

This study provides an opportunity for dental practitioners to gain
knowledge and awareness about research that impacts their patients

Collect and develop a deciduous teeth repository
Collect medical history data of mother and child

Cutting edge research about the health risks of exposure to toxic
substances

Evaluate the dental practitioners knowledge and awareness of
possible etiologies of ASD

Insight into possible correlations between exposure and
neurodevelopmental disturbances

Evaluate attitudes about discussing environmental exposures with
patients and their community.

Opportunity for practitioners and parents to contribute to a national
ongoing study
Made possible with funds from the National Center for Advancing Translational
Science, National Institutes of Health through grant UL1TR001120

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