For the first time in decades, the number of preschoolers with cavities is on the rise. Children are coming to the dentist with six to ten cavities at one time which makes tooth decay the most common chronic disease among children in the United States today.
More cavities mean more fillings, and now a new study says parents need to be aware of what kind of fillings are being used.
The researchers whose study was printed in the July issue of Journal Pediatrics claim fillings made with the chemical Bisphenol-A or BPA may be linked to behavioral and emotional problems as children get older.
BPA is the chemical is used in plastics and canned goods, and advocates have fought to have it banned in baby bottles and other products for children.
But Doctor Carlos Bertot, an Orlando pediatric dentist and local spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says the study is over-hyped and not even very scientific.
“The study itself does not prove that there is a connection between BPA and behavioral problems. There was no attempt to measure levels of BPA in any of the participants involved in the study,” said Bertot.
Bertot adds the fillings made today contain only a derivative of BPA and not the actual chemical.
“Unfortunately, it’s guilty by association, but it’s been proven to be stable and not a danger at all,” said Bertot.
If a parent is still concerned, there is an alternative you can ask your dentist about.
“It's called a glass ionomer. The problem is it's not very aesthetic, not very durable,” said Bertot.
And it’s less resistant to staining. That’s a combination that's not quite kid friendly.
In the end, there's really only one way to avoid cavities and fillings all together.
“As parents we always need to be involved, making sure that their hygiene habits are what they need to be, their diets are where they need to be, will go a very long way towards preventing the cavities and avoiding the materials in question,” said Bertot.
The study looked at more than 500 children ages six to ten who had cavities. Click here to read the complete study.