Abstract Concentrations of Zn and Mg were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in the enamel and dentine of people living in the rural areas of eastern Finland, where large-scale geochemical analyses of the soil have been carried out. The concentration of Zn in the dentine, but not the enamel, was related to that in the soil. The age-related accumulation of Zn in the dentine was found particularly in youths and young adults. The mean concentrations of Mg in the dentine were related to those in the soil. Mg concentration in the enamel was not related to that in the soil but there was a statistically significant ( p< 0.05) age-related accumulation. The Zn and Mg concentrations of samples from urban people were similar to those of rural people.