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Urinary heavy metals, phthalates, phenols, thiocyanate, parabens, pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons but not arsenic or polyfluorinated compounds are associated with adult oral health: USA NHANES, 2011–2012


Links between environmental chemicals and human health have emerged over the last few decades, but the effects on oral health have been less studied. Therefore, it was aimed to study the relationships of different sets of urinary chemical concentrations and adult oral health conditions in a national and population-based setting. Data was retrieved from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2011–2012 including demographics, self-reported oral health conditions and urinary environmental chemical concentrations (one third representative sample of the study population). Chi-square test, t test, and survey-weighted logistic and multi-nominal regression modeling were performed. Of 4566 American adults aged 30–80, 541 adults (11.9 %) reported poor teeth health while 1020 adults (22.4 %) reported fair teeth. Eight hundred fifty-five people (19.1 %) claimed to have gum disease, presented with higher levels of urinary cadmium, cobalt and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Six hundred three adults (13.3 %) had bone loss around the mouth, presented with higher levels of cadmium, nitrate, thiocyanate, propyl paraben and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Eight hundred forty-five adults (18.5 %) had tooth loose not due to injury, presented with higher level of cadmium, thiocyanate and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Eight hundred forty-five adults (18.5 %) with higher levels of lead, uranium, polyaromatic hydrocarbons but lower level of triclosan noticed their teeth did not look right. Three hundred fifty-one adults (7.7 %) often had aching in the mouth and 650 (14.3 %) had it occasionally, presented with higher levels of phthalates, pesticides and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Benzophenone-3 and triclosan elicited protective effects. Regulation of environmental chemicals in prevention of adult oral health might need to be considered in future health and environmental policies.

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Dr. Ivy Shiue would like to thank reviewer 3 for providing insightful feedback to complement to the Discussion section.

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Correspondence to Ivy Shiue.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Shiue, I. Urinary heavy metals, phthalates, phenols, thiocyanate, parabens, pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons but not arsenic or polyfluorinated compounds are associated with adult oral health: USA NHANES, 2011–2012. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 15636–15645 (2015).

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