Association between Low blood lead levels and increased risk of dental caries in children: A cross-sectional study

Young Suk Kim, Mina Ha, Ho Jang Kwon, Hae Young Kim, Youn Hee Choi

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The objective of this study was to examine the association between low blood lead levels of <5 μg/dL and the development of dental caries among children. Methods: The Children's Health and Environment Research (CHEER) group recruited a cohort of 7,059 school-aged children from six Korean cities. The final study populations in the permanent and deciduous teeth groups were 1,564 and 1,241 children, respectively, after excluding 4 children with blood lead levels of >5 μg/dL. Compared with the children who did not have dental caries, the risk of having dental caries according to blood lead level was estimated by using the zero-inflated negative binomial model. Results: The geometric mean (geometric standard deviation, maximum) blood lead level was 1.53 μg/dL (1.57, 4.89 μg/dL), and 74.4% of children had a level of <2 μg/dL. Blood lead level was significantly higher in the children with than in those without deciduous dental caries (1.59 vs. 1.51 μg/dL), similarly with permanent dental caries (1.65 vs. 1.51 μg/dL). After adjustment for covariates, deciduous teeth surfaces that were decayed and filled increased significantly with increasing blood lead levels in a dose-dependent manner (prevalence ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval: 1.02-1.27). However, the risk of having dental caries in permanent teeth was not linearly associated with the increase in blood lead level. Conclusions: In the sum of decayed and filled surfaces, we found a significant increase in risk of dental caries of the deciduous teeth with an increase in blood lead levels (<5 μg/dL) but found no statistical significance in the association with decayed and filled surfaces of caries separately.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 13


  • Blood lead
  • Children
  • Deciduous dentition
  • Dental caries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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