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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-7

Uranium: A Dentist's perspective


1 Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Luxmai Bai Dental College & Hospital, Patiala; Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, India
2 Genesis Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, Ferozpur, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
R. S. S. Toor
House number 896, Phase 4, Mohali, Punjab
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2231-0762.103447

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Uranium is a naturally occurring radionuclide found in granite and other mineral deposits. In its natural state, it consists of three isotopes (U-234, U-235 and U-238). On an average, 1% - 2% of ingested uranium is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract in adults. The absorbed uranium rapidly enters the bloodstream and forms a diffusible ionic uranyl hydrogen carbonate complex (UO2HCO3+) which is in equilibrium with a nondiffusible uranyl albumin complex. In the skeleton, the uranyl ion replaces calcium in the hydroxyapatite complex of the bone crystal. Although in North India, there is a risk of radiological toxicity from orally ingested natural uranium, the principal health effects are chemical toxicity. The skeleton and kidney are the primary sites of uranium accumulation. Acute high dose of uranyl nitrate delays tooth eruption, and mandibular growth and development, probably due to its effect on target cells. Based on all previous research and recommendations, the role of a dentist is to educate the masses about the adverse effects of uranium on the overall as well as the dental health. The authors recommended that apart from the discontinuation of the addition of uranium to porcelain, the Public community water supplies must also comply with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards of uranium levels being not more than 30 ppb (parts per billion).


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