Study Finds Children With Asthma to Have Lower Levels of Tooth Magnesium and Blood Zinc

Child at medical appointment.
Elemental differences detected in blood and baby teeth between children with and without asthma may have implications for the pathogenesis of this prevalent disease.

Pediatric patients with asthma were found to demonstrate lower tooth magnesium levels and lower blood zinc levels, occurrences that may offer insight into the pathogenesis of asthma, according to a study published in BMC Pulmonary Medicine.

While higher molar incisor hypomineralization has been previously reported in individuals with asthma, there have been no published studies evaluating teeth element contents in this population. Therefore, researchers sought to evaluate the levels of 13 selected blood and tooth elements (magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, chromium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, strontium, molybdenum, cadmium, lead, and mercury) in a well-controlled asthma group and a control group.

The study enrolled 17 patients with asthma and 26 age- and gender-matched children without asthma who all donated deciduous teeth they had shed that had neither decay nor fillings. The element levels in blood and teeth matrixes were analyzed with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and differences in blood and tooth elements in groups were evaluated with generalized linear models after adjusting for confounding factors.

After adjusting the child’s “z” scores of body mass index for age, history of iron deficiency anemia, and status of parental smoking, the generalized linear model revealed significantly lower levels of tooth magnesium and blood zinc, as well as a lower blood zinc/copper ratio in the asthma group compared with the control group (P =.042, P =.034, P =.002, respectively). Similar findings were reported for other studied elements for tooth and blood matrixes.

Given the low tooth magnesium levels and low blood zinc levels found in the asthma group, “Further studies are necessary to show the relationship between asthma and elements for understanding asthma development and the prevention of disease,” said the investigators.


Yalçın SS, Emiralioğlu N, Yalçın S. Evaluation of blood and tooth element status in asthma cases: a preliminary case-control study. BMC Pulm Med. Published online June 15, 2021. doi:10.1186/s12890-021-01565-9