B-P-A could be found in children’s dental fillings

By Shayna Brouker • Published: October 10th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Problems with plastics are showing up everywhere. Bisphenol-A, a dangerous byproduct of plastic, has been widely used in plastic products, metal food containers and even car upholstery for the past 10 years. It’s concerning because research has found that B-P-A mimics estrogen and could alter reproduction and fetal development … and perhaps even behavior in children.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that a certain compound used in some children’s dental fillings is linked to behavioral problems down the road. Certain tooth-colored fillings, known as composites, that contained B-P-A were associated with more anxiety, depression and social problems in adolescents five years after they got their cavities filled. The link was stronger when the fillings were in molars, where wear-and-tear of the material is more likely.

More research is needed, and the American Dental Association says the exposure to B-P-A through fillings is still several times lower than what a child is subjected to through food and the environment. B-P-A is also found in air, dust and water.

And experts warn it’s no excuse for children not to have regular dental checkups. If anything, it’s incentive to take good care of teeth to avoid cavities in the first place. Parents should begin brushing their children’s gums and baby teeth in infancy. Beginning at age 2, children can brush with adult supervision using a pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Each brushing should last about two minutes.

As for B-P-A, the Food and Drug Administration is working to reduce the levels of the byproduct in consumer goods, especially those marketed to kids, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your exposure in the meantime. Microwave food in glass, not plastic, and choose fresh over canned whenever possible. B-P-A can be avoided.