Cumulative Lead Exposure and Tooth Loss in Men: The Normative Aging Study

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Cumulative Lead Exposure and Tooth Loss in Men: The Normative Aging Study

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Title: Cumulative Lead Exposure and Tooth Loss in Men: The Normative Aging Study
Author: Nie, Huiling; Garcia, Raul I.; Hu, Howard; Arora, Manish; Weuve, Jennifer Lynn; Weisskopf, Marc G.; Sparrow, David

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Citation: Arora, Manish, Jennifer Weuve, Marc G. Weisskopf, David Sparrow, Huiling Nie, Raul I. Garcia, and Howard Hu. 2009. Cumulative lead exposure and tooth loss in men: the normative aging study. Environmental Health Perspectives 117(10): 1531-1534.
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Abstract: Background: Individuals previously exposed to lead remain at risk because of endogenous release of lead stored in their skeletal compartments. However, it is not known if long-term cumulative lead exposure is a risk factor for tooth loss. Objectives: We examined the association of bone lead concentrations with loss of natural teeth. Methods: We examined 333 men enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. We used a validated K-shell X-ray fluorescence (KXRF) method to measure lead concentrations in the tibial midshaft and patella. A dentist recorded the number of teeth remaining, and tooth loss was categorized as 0, 1–8 or ≥ 9 missing teeth. We used proportional odds models to estimate the association of bone lead biomarkers with tooth loss, adjusting for age, smoking, diabetes, and other putative confounders. Results: Participants with ≥ 9 missing teeth had significantly higher bone lead concentrations than those who had not experienced tooth loss. In multivariable-adjusted analyses, men in the highest tertile of tibia lead (> 23 μg/g) and patella lead (> 36 μg/g) had approximately three times the odds of having experienced an elevated degree of tooth loss (≥ 9 vs. 0–8 missing teeth or ≥ 1 vs. 0 missing teeth) as those in the lowest tertile [prevalence odds ratio (OR) = 3.03; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.60–5.76 and OR = 2.41; 95% CI, 1.30–4.49, respectively]. Associations between bone lead biomarkers and tooth loss were similar in magnitude to the increased odds observed in participants who were current smokers. Conclusion: Long-term cumulative lead exposure is associated with increased odds of tooth loss.
Published Version: doi:10.1289/ehp.0900739
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