Deciduous teeth from the New Hampshire birth cohort study: Early life environmental and dietary predictors of dentin elements

Environ Res. 2024 Sep 1:256:119170. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2024.119170. Epub 2024 May 18.


Background: Sparse research exists on predictors of element concentrations measured in deciduous teeth.

Objective: To estimate associations between maternal/child characteristics, elements measured in home tap water during pregnancy and element concentrations in the dentin of shed deciduous teeth.

Methods: Our analysis included 152 pregnant person-infant dyads followed from the second trimester through the end of the first postnatal year from the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study. During pregnancy and early infancy, we collected dietary and sociodemographic information via surveys, measured elements in home tap water, and later collected naturally exfoliated teeth from child participants. We measured longitudinal deposition of elements in dentin using LA-ICP-MS. Multivariable linear mixed models were used to estimate associations between predictors and dentin element concentrations.

Results: We measured 12 elements in dentin including those previously reported (Ba, Mn, Pb, Sr, Zn) and less frequently reported (Al, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Li, and W). A doubling of Pb or Sr concentrations in water was associated with higher dentin Pb or Sr respectively in prenatally formed [9% (95%CI: 3%, 15%); 3% (1%, 6%)] and postnatally formed [10% (2%, 19%); 6% (2%, 10%)] dentin. Formula feeding from birth to 6 weeks or 6 weeks to 4 months was associated with higher element concentrations in postnatal dentin within the given time period as compared to exclusive human milk feeding: Sr: 6 weeks: 61% (36%, 90%) and 4 months: 85% (54%, 121%); Ba: 6 weeks: 35% (3.3%, 77%) and 4 months: 42% (10%, 83%); and Li: 6 weeks: 61% (33%, 95%) and 4 months: 58% (31%, 90%).

Significance: These findings offer insights into predictors of dentin elements and potential confounders in exposure-health outcome relationships during critical developmental periods.

Keywords: Children's health; Deciduous teeth; Elements; Infant diet; Metals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Cohort
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dentin* / chemistry
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • New Hampshire
  • Pregnancy
  • Tooth, Deciduous* / chemistry
  • Young Adult