The next time you visit your dentist for a nice set of dentures, be sure to ask where it came from. They may contain dangerous amounts of lead that could endanger your health.

This warning comes from Richard Daniels, chief executive of the US National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL), who said that some cheap dentures made in China may pose a threat to consumers because of their high levels of lead.

The same is true with dental crowns, bridges and veneers that are outsourced to China because of their low prices yet are made by unregulated laboratories that have little or no concern for the patient’s welfare.

"At this point nobody knows what the health risks are," said Daniels who was worried about the growing number of potentially dangerous imports in dental treatments.

In Britain, for instance, there has been a huge surge in the number of imported dental fixtures from China. The imports now make up about five percent of the market compared with less than one percent three years ago.

British dentists patronize these products because of their low prices but the savings are seldom passed on to patients who don’t realize where these items come from.

“British dentists can now take an impression of a patient's tooth, send it to China by express post and get a crown back within four days,” revealed David Derbyshire and Liz Hazelton in the Daily Mail.

"The worst case scenario is we'll end up with a large number of people in the United Kingdom with mouths full of lead and they've got no idea that that's the case,” said David Smith, a NADL board member.

The toxic products came to light after a 73-year-old American woman became sick after being given a new crown. Tests showed that the imported Chinese fixture had high levels of lead.

“In the United States, four cases of lead poisoning have been linked to Chinese dental fixtures. A laboratory test revealed that some contained 210 times the acceptable amount of the toxic metal,” Derbyshire and Hazelton said.

“Although the materials used to make crowns, bridges and dentures must carry a safety mark, there is no way of checking whether the manufacturer has used the correct materials,” they added.

Once inhaled or ingested, lead can affect the body in a number of ways. Symptoms of lead poisoning can be immediate if large doses of lead are taken but this usually occurs slowly over time with repeated exposure to small amounts of lead.

“A blood test can determine if there are high levels of lead in a person’s body. Symptoms of lead poisoning include irritability, difficulty sleeping, headaches, reduced sensations, loss of developmental skills in young children, loss of appetite and energy, and anemia. In high doses, lead poisoning can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle weakness and seizures,” said the editors of WiseGeek.Com.

For your safety and protection, ask your dentist where he or she gets his materials. Not everything that comes from China is bad but cheap dental fixtures from small laboratories may be an exception to the rule.

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Author's Bio: 

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine