The aim of this study was to compare the trace element content of children’s primary teeth from Uganda and the UK. The Ugandan teeth were from children living in an area where endomyocardial fibrosis (EMF), a cardiac disease, is prevalent. The latter has been putatively linked to insufficient magnesium intake and excess cerium exposure. Primary teeth were collected from 21 Ugandan and 27 UK children. The crowns and roots of the teeth were separated and the former digested and analysed for several major and trace elements by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES). In addition, the enamel and dentine of eight UK and seven Ugandan primary teeth were isolated via density separation and analysed as above. The data were assessed using non-parametric statistical tests. The Ugandan teeth contained significantly ( P < 0.05) greater concentrations of strontium, barium, cerium, lanthanum, praseodymium and significantly less zinc than the UK teeth. No significant difference in the concentrations of aluminium, calcium, copper, magnesium, lead and uranium were found. Analysis of enamel and dentine demonstrated that the former was enriched with several elements including cerium. It is concluded, that the environment, influences the trace element content of primary teeth and this may be useful for monitoring nutritional status. With respect to a geochemical cause for EMF, there is no positive evidence that EMF in Uganda is associated with reduced magnesium and increased cerium uptake in primary teeth. This does not, however, exclude cerium from playing a role in the aetiology of EMF.
Archives of Oral Biology – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2004
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