Leaded to decay

Published: Thursday 15 May 1997

Francisco Gil and his colleagues at the University of Granada, Spain, have found that teeth from children and adults that contain high concentrations of lead have more caries, plaque and dental staining. The team also found that children with 10 or more sites of decay in their mouth had three times as much lead in their blood as children with no decay. Once present in the tooth, the lead makes the enamel more susceptible to attack by bacteria, which is also the reason why old people who accumulate lead over the years are more prone to tooth decay.

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