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Exposure to persistent organic pollutants during tooth formation: molecular mechanisms and clinical findings

Serena Bianchi , Sara Bernardi ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Manuel Belli , Giuseppe Varvara and Guido Macchiarelli


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) constitute a relevant part of environmental pollution. POPs are chemical compounds that persist for a long time in the environment, bio-accumulate in the human body and determine significant adverse consequences to human health. The characteristics of these substances are lipo-affinity, semi-volatility and resistance to the degradation processes. Results deriving from several different studies attest that exposure to the main classes of POPs results in multiple toxic effects on humans and experimental animal models. Among the various alterations caused by exposition to and bio-accumulation of POPs, there are abnormalities in tooth formation and related hard dental tissue structure, especially enamel. This review aimed to describe the close association between the exposure of these compounds during the development of the tooth germ and the occurrence of tooth structural anomalies. Indeed, structural defects of the enamel have as possible consequences higher susceptibility of the tooth to caries disease and higher fragility of the crown to the occlusal trauma.

  1. Research funding: Authors state no funding involved.

  2. Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  3. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

  4. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.


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Article note

The figures were realized using the infographic software MindTheGraph®

Received: 2019-11-17
Accepted: 2020-03-09
Published Online: 2020-04-17
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

©2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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