Our natural teeth are comprised of bone covered in enamel, which can be affected by gastric acids. Gastric fluids can contain phosphoric, lactic, sulphuric, chloric, oxalic, and at times acetic acids. These acids when combined with carbonic acid gas and sulphuretted hydrogen gas from the lungs chemically react on the teeth. These ridges are often seen in patients with lung disease or other chronic respiratory problems that are children of a parent who had goiters or consumption.
A patient with lung disease usually produces excessive mucous. As the lung disease advances and the lungs continue to be destroyed the amount of excessive mucous increases. The mucous contains chloride or sodium, or salt, in an excessive amount. This is true for asthma patients or anyone who has chronic respiratory illnesses producing mucous.
The first place the ridges usually form with lung compromised patients is on the ridges of the gums and they embrace the necks of the teeth. Over time the teeth decay at the neck and may or may not cause the patient pain in the process. In some patients the interior of the tooth crumbles as the enamel is eaten away by the acid. In other patients it causes a mass of decaying bone.
There are cases of children or adults who have ridges across the middle or another area of their teeth. These patients are children of parents who had consumption or goiters. During childhood illnesses that erupt, such as measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, or chicken pox, an alkaline can be found or an acidic diathesis exists during the eruptive illness. This leaves ridges formed during the budding of the permanent teeth.
During my years in the dental field I saw several patients come through the office with ridges in their teeth. Having been born to a mother who had goiter surgery, and who has a family history of goiters, it puts me at a higher risk.
It is imperative that anyone who is the child of a parent who has had consumption or goiters follow through with all routine dental exams and practice proper hygiene techniques. During periods of respiratory illnesses it is advisable to increase the amount of brushing and flossing daily. If the patient also has chronic respiratory illnesses or lung disease it becomes necessary to increase the amount of daily brushing and flossing on a permanent basis. Shortening the length of time between routine dental exams will also help the patient maintain healthier teeth. The dentist will be alerted to any developing problem and will be able to suggest treatment in order to save the teeth.