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Monday 24th October 2016

Fillings linked to behaviour problems

17th July 2012

Researchers in the United States say that children who receive a common type of dental filling can have slightly worse behaviour five years later compared to those who have a different kind of fillings.

Dentist Chair

According to researcher Nancy Maserejian, some composite fillings made to resemble the colour of teeth were linked to worse social behaviour in children aged 11-16.

She said the chemical associated with such problems was called bisGMA, which is made from bisphenol A, or BPA.

Some studies have suggested that BPA, which is widely used in hard plastic food containers, the linings of food and drink cans and other products, can have an effect on reproduction and development because it mimics the effects of the hormone oestrogen.

The chemical has been phased out of baby bottles and other products used by children in recent years, and environmental groups say it should not be used in anything which children could use.

However, exposure to the chemical is extremely widespread, as it is also found in water, dust and in the air we breathe.

Maserejian said the research was surprising, but preliminary and the differences in behaviour that the team found were quite small.

She said further research was needed to replicate the findings and to understand the reasons behind them.

Her team closely examined some of the data gathered by the New England Children's Amalgam Trial (NECAT), with the aim at looking at the effects of dental amalgam, the silver, metallic-looking fillings, and comparing them to composite fillings which are the same colour as teeth.

They wanted to establish if amalgam fillings had any ill effects on the brain and the kidneys, but published a report in 2006 that showed no ill-effects linked to amalgam.

However, they were somewhat surprised to find worse behaviour patterns among children given composite fillings, and looked more closely at the differences in the current study.

They examined the social and behavioral functioning of 434 of the children in the original study, assessing their behaviour via parental reporting and self-reporting.

The children who had composite fillings, but only the kind that contained BPA, reported more anxiety, depression, social stress, and interpersonal relations problems.

When the BPA fillings were on the chewing surfaces of teeth, the link between such problems and the fillings was even stronger.

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