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Study: BPA in Dental Fillings Linked to Emotional Problems in Children

We worry about BPA in water bottles, in the food containers we buy, in baby bottles—but a new study shows we may even have to be concerned about the BPA levels in our children’s dental fillings, reports HealthDay.

A study released online yesterday in the journal Pediatrics followed 534 children before and five years after getting at least two fillings. The children in the study had either composite (white or clear) fillings or amalgam (silver colored) fillings. While amalgam fillings have mostly been replaced because they contain mercury, researchers were surprised to see it was the composite fillings, made from a BPA-based material (bisGMA), that showed more negative results.

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Children and parents involved in the study answered questions about the kids’ ability to make friends and their levels of anxiety and depression. Results showed that more emotional problems existed with children with composite fillings than those with fewer of these fillings, whereas no such change occurred with other types of fillings—although it’s important to note that because the results are based on children’s self-reports and parents’ descriptions, more research is needed before any kind of conclusive connection can be made.

So what can concerned parents do for kids who already have composite fillings? Dr. Burton Edelstein, a pediatrics dentist and professor of dentistry at Columbia University told HealthDay that parents should not try to replace sound fillings, instead they should simply focus on cavity prevention.

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"On average, the difference in social behavior scores were very small and would probably not be noticed for each individual child," said study author Nancy Maserejian. "But imagine a huge group of children around the country; you'd probably notice a difference." Most likely the study will lead to dentists further exploring which type of filling is best for children.

What types of fillings do your children have, if any? Will this study affect your choices in the future?