Dental Products: Changes Linked to BPA

BPA in dental productsOne dentist in eight has changed dental products or materials because of worries about BPA content, this survey found.

When we previously surveyed dentists on the topic of bisphenol-A, we found about half of dentists were worried about BPA in dental composite and sealants.

“Patients should be told restorative treatment and material options, risks, benefits, average longevity, etc. (of composite, amalgam, castings, etc.). Then, as a well-respected lecturer sarcastically says, they can ‘pick their poison,'” said a Maryland dentist. “I wonder if, a few decades from now, we will still see the short longevity composites to be as safe as amalgam is and was for 160 years.”

Read more: Dentists Change Dental Materials over BPA

Dental Safety: BPA Exposure and Dental Sealants (video)

Dental Safety: BPA Exposure and Dental Sealants (video)This week Campbell’s Soup Company announced that they are phasing out bisphenol A (BPA) in their canned food linings.

BPA is a chemical that can imitate human estrogen and is thought by some health care providers to be harmful to health.  BPA is commonly used additive in food packaging and dental sealants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also reported that they will make a decision by March 30th on whether to the ban the use of bisphenol A in food and beverage packaging.

Dental composites have revolutionized dentistry, especially cosmetic dentistry. But composite resins and dental sealants also contain BPA.

Warned one dentist, “It’s a dangerous chemical that we are placing in a sensitive area, free to leech out 24 hours a day.”

Another dentist said, “The cumulative release of BPA from composites appears to be minimal from the available research.”

Recently there’s been a lot of negative publicity about bisphenol A being linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In light of these recent reports, The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have dental safety concerns over dental composites.

Click on Play to hear how the dentists responded to the survey —

What are your thoughts on the use of BPA in cosmetic dentistry?

BPA & Dental Composite Safety (Survey Video)

Dental safety and BPAControversies about chemical safety are hardly new to dentistry. So it’s not surprising to find that dentistsare split down the middle in their opinions about the use of dental composite and sealants that contain bisphenol-A, or BPA as it’s commonly known.

In this survey, 46% said they had concerns about safety, while 54% are not particularly worried.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss dentists’ thoughts on BPA safety:

“I’ve never had a patient even mention it, unlike the wackos who won’t let fluoride touch their kids’ lips,” offered a Michigan Dentist.

“I have some worries about safety,” said one General Dentist. “To temper this, you’ve got to remember that ANYTHING in the body outside of what is indigenous is considered foreign and has potential to elicit yet another of those unexpected side effects, sort of like most of Congress’ laws. Since I stopped doing sealants years and years ago, I am less concerned about the effect on most adults.”

“Are any of my patients worried about BPA? They should be!” exclaimed an Orthodontist. “My kids will never have sealants. Sealants are BS. Another way the insurance companies dictate how a dentist can make money: by compromising morals, yet again.”

It’s worthwhile to bring up safety concerns about Bisphenol-A in dental sealants and fillings. Unfortunately, the science isn’t particularly clear.

We still don’t have definitive scientific evidence that everyone agrees on when it comes to mercury, or even fluoride. So don’t expect the BPA controversy to be resolved anytime soon.

Read more about the dental survey here.

Want your opinions heard in future surveys?

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Dentists Say Lead Is Dentistry’s Biggest Health Threat

Other Dental Health Concerns Include Mercury and Bisphenol-A

In this survey, we asked dentists how concerned they are about various potential public health threats linked to dentistry. Dentists’ concerns, in order, are:

General dentists versus specialists

  1. Lead in dental lab work
  2. Mercury in amalgam
  3. Bisphenol-A in composite, and
  4. Fluoride in water supplies.

General dentists had higher levels of concern on all issues than specialists. However, specialists and generalists agreed on the relative dangers of the chemicals covered in this survey.

Dentists’ thoughts

  • “I’d like to be doing all gold restorations.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “All four of these need to be totally nailed down as to their safety, or lack thereof.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Two things that will bite dentistry in the butt are fluoride and amalgam if we don’t stop forcing them on the public.” (Idaho dentist)

Mercury

  • “150 years have not proved Amalgam to be dangerous.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Amalgams have saved billions of teeth!” (Washington dentist)
  • “A known toxin, no safe levels, should be banned.” (Louisiana dentist)

Lead

  • “Lead in dental casting alloy? Outrageous!” (Colorado dentist)
  • “Recent articles have debunked the worry over the amount of lead in ‘farmed-out’ crowns. Still, we need to monitor that work.” (California dentist)

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

  • “This stuff is everywhere. Composites without BPA just don’t hold up well.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “It’s probably not too dangerous, but don’t cast stones, Mr. Composite: you live in a glass house!” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “It’s ironic that many patients are removing long tested amalgam and replacing them with bisphenol composites of unproven safety.” (California dentist)

Fluoride

  • “It’s been shown to be effective, but we shouldn’t be medicating the whole population.” (Colorado dentist)
  • “The best public health measure ever instituted in this country for caries prevention.” (Texas dentist)
  • “Known to be toxic.” (California dentist)

Post your thoughts or read the complete dental public health threats survey results

Is Bisphenol-A The Next Dental Amalgam?

BPA safety fearsThe chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) made headlines last year as a possible health risk – and now it’s back in the news. BPA is added to many plastics and can be found in lots of products, including food containers, baby bottles, and dental sealants and composite.

Will this call the safety of modern dental products into question?

Unfortunately, evidence indicates that BPA can leach from plastics and be absorbed by the human body. It mimics the effects of the female hormone estrogen, and animal studies have linked high levels of BPA with all sorts of unpleasant health problems.

Baby bottles seem to be the most worrisome product, releasing even higher levels of BPA when heated or filled with hot liquid. [Note: Not all baby bottles contain bisphenol-A.] And BPA’s hormone-like effects are likely to be even more harmful to a developing baby than a full-grown adult.

Last year, the FDA declared that the amount of BPA released by consumer products is too low to cause health problems. In a June 2008 statement to the US House of Representatives, the FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Science, Dr. Norris Alderson, said:

At this time, FDA is not recommending that consumers discontinue using food contact materials that contain BPA. Although our review of the NTP reports is continuing, a large body of available evidence indicates that food contact materials containing BPA currently on the market are safe, and that exposure levels to BPA from these materials, including exposure to infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects…

FDA’s reassessment of possible “low-dose” effects of BPA concluded that the current level of exposure to adults and infants is safe as defined in 21 CFR §170.3(i).

However, the FDA is now reviewing that decision. In fact, a recent Harvard University study found elevated levels of BPA in students’ urine after only one week of drinking from plastic containers.

Many cities and states are considering banning the additive in some products, particularly baby bottles.

  • Canada banned the import and sale of baby bottles containing BPA
  • New York’s Suffolk County passed a BPA ban
  • Minnesota has banned BPA-containing plastic beverage containers for children under 3 (effective for manufacturers January 2010; for retailers January 2011)
  • Chicago just passed a city-wide ban on selling baby bottles and children’s sippy cups that contain BPA (effective January 2011)
  • Connecticut‘s House will ban BPA from plastic containers used by babies and children (effective October 2011)
  • California‘s Senate narrowly approved a bill banning BPA that still needs to be approved by the state Assembly
  • There’s more and more talk of a nationwide ban

A number of companies are voluntarily removing or limiting BPA. Water-bottle manufacturer Nalgene has announced it will remove BPA from its products. Both Walmart and Kids-R-Us will stop selling baby bottles that contain BPA. The six largest baby bottle manufacturers will remove the ingredient. Even Sunoco has said that it will not supply manufacturers with BPA if the resulting products are intended for children under 3.

Next week we’ll take a look at how this may apply to dental composites and sealants.

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