Are Your Child’s Dental Fillings Changing Their Behavior?
Dental fillings made from the controversial chemical bisphenol-A may cause your child's behavior to change, according to a new study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday. Researchers found that these new plastic fillings, which are being phased in instead of the common mercury-containing fillings, changed children's behavior.
Plastics manufacturers use BPA to harden plastics, but the chemical mimics estrogen in the human body, first reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Studies have linked the chemical to a host of health issues such as cancer, reproductive problems, heart disease and neurological issues, though so far FDA officials consider BPA to be safe.
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Researchers looked at 534 children who had at least two cavities and examined the social skills before and five years after they were filled. They found that children who received the BPA fillings experienced more emotional problems. Other fillings had no other effect on children's behavior.
"It was actually kind of a surprise that instead of seeing any possible adverse associations with amalgam, that the trends seem to go the other way and the children in the composite group seemed to have more problems," study author Nancy Maserejian, an epidemiologist at New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Mass., told HealthDay.
The changes were small, and parents may not notice it in their individual child, researchers said, but with a large enough sample size the change is apparent.
"On average, the difference in social behavior scores were very small and would probably not be noticed for each individual child," Maserejian said. "But imagine a huge group of children around the country; you'd probably notice a difference."
Dr. Burton Edelstein, a pediatric dentist and professor of dentistry at Columbia University, in New York City, told HealthDay that dentists need to consider going back to amalgam fillings, which contain mercury.
"This study raises enough concern about the alternative of amalgam to revisit the value of amalgam," he said.
In addition to these dental fillings, people become exposed to BPA from eating or drinking anything that's been stored in containers that use BPA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA-laced urine in 93 percent of residents tested between 2003 and 2004.
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