The most chronic disease for kids right now is tooth decay – and by the time kids reach second grade, more than 50% will have cavities.
It’s unfortunate – and while prevention is important, it seems like more children are prone to cavities than others. At least in my family it seems that way. My husband has amazing teeth – me, not so much. No matter how much oral hygiene I manage to squeeze in, it seems like my teeth just need more help than his.
Then comes our children – my girls are GREAT, with no issues at all. My boys, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. Our 6 year old recently had a dental visit that revealed a cavity he needed filled.
While most people would schedule an appointment to get that taken care of, the process was much more involving for me and lead me to a series of phone calls, conversations, long discussions and several weeks later, we finally have an appointment set at a biological/holistic dentist.
What transpired my concerns as a parent?
I was against the possibility of a silver fillings – which led me to seek out composite fillings in lieu of the risks of silver. Doing self research into composite fillings revealed that not all are BPA-free. Most dentists use silver fillings because they tout them as longer lasting and, inexpensive. Composite, while an alternative, has its own set of concerns (BPA)… when I talked about my concerns to my dentist, he seemed to brush off all of my concerns.
While BPA-free fillings are out there, they are not widely used. Some dentists know they are available, and some do not. Of those who do, not all opt to use them… they may or may not feel like BPA is a risk, therefore unless the parent inquires about wanting those types of fillings, most dentists will not offer. Any dentist can use BPA-free fillings, it’s up to the dentist and his practice.
Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been trying to find a holistic dentist for our 6 year old that shares our concerns and offers BPA-free fillings. It took us a few weeks, but we have finally found one – not only that, he shares our same concerns and that’s invaluable to us.
Have you ever thought about your child’s fillings? Your own fillings? If not, it’s worth some self research.
75% of Americans have no idea that their amalgam fillings are a whopping 50% mercury (Source). The American Dental Association uses the term “silver” fillings so that people will assume they are made of silver when in fact it has twice as much mercury as silver.
Silver fillings are widely used in most dental practices today – on both adults and kids. While many dentists use silver fillings, quite a few refuse to use it due to toxicity concerns.
Mercury can affect the human body through mercury vapor passed from the filings through cell membranes, across the blood brain barrier, and to your nervous system.
Your nervous system directly affects your immunological, neurological and psychological well being. The people most at risk? Children and fetuses – as their brains are still developing. Mercury can ultimately affect everyone.
How does Mercury affect your body? ANY kind of stimulation can allow those fillings to release vapors – so when you eat, drink, brush your teeth,and even chew gym, those vapors are working against you (see this video HERE). Dental Mercury is also the main source of mercury in our wastewater.
So if not silver fillings, then what is the other option presented?
In many cases, once you tell your dentist you have concerns about using amalgam (mercury) fillings, the option for composite fillings is presented as the other option.
While composite fillings seem to be a better option against those at first, they also hold safety concerns, too.
Your dentist should not argue for continuing the use of amalgam on the fact that composites may turn out to be unsafe in some way.
When you are looking at composite fillings, you need to know that some do have BPA. Not only that, BPA can and is used in many of the sealants too. Should you be concerned?
BPA is a known endocrine disruptor – it mimics/interferes with your body’s hormones – disrupting your endocrine system. Those glands regulate your mood, growth and development, metabolism, reproductive processes and tissue function. BPA is far more worrisome early in life – for a fetus, it can lead to chromosomal errors that lead to miscarriage and genetic damage. But besides babies in utero, it can also affect kids, too – the chemicals can lead to early puberty, disruptive reproductive cycles, ovarian problems and reproductive problems.
While the amount of BPA in a composite resin may be small, it is bioaccumulative and can add up to your body burden.
Dental patients can be exposed to BPA through cavities that are filled that wear over time, and as saliva leaches to that cavity, it can work its way into the bloodstream.
Despite the concerning research, however, the FDA has mentioned that they have no evidence to support the belief that BPA is a danger. BPA is still widely used in the US, although some companies have went so far as to remove it from their products. BPA manufacturers make a whopping $8 billion profit each year thanks to the manufacturing demand.
Where do you Take your Concerns?
I have known about the dangers of silver fillings for some time – but it wasn’t until my son had this cavity that I discussed my fears with my dentist. His response showed no empathy for my concern, and he told me that the mercury used in amalgam wasn’t the bad kind – then he turned to the dangers of BPA found in composite fillings as being just as much of a safety issue, and used that reasoning to justify why we should just sick with silver fillings.
Except.. that while all amalgam fillings contain mercury, not all composites contain BPA. At this point, it’s your responsibility as a consumer, and as a parent, to seek out those dentists that use BPA-free cavities and sealants – and while they are few in number, they are out there.
His conversation with me was all it took for me to seek out another dentist – who at our best interests at heart.
Finding a biological dentist wasn’t an easy feat either ~ although there are several out there, not all offer BPA-free fillings, and some actually still offer amalgam fillings. If your biological dentist still offers amalgam fillings, I’d immediately find a new biological dentist – after all, their job is to help you achieve and sustain your level of oral and systemic health. So anything that wouldn’t reinforce that would be ironic – right?
What if you have composites or amalgam fillings?
Eventually your fillings will need to be replaced, due to age and wear. At that time, you should try to make sure they are replaced with BPA-free fillings, by way of a holistic/biological dentist.