For those of you with kids just starting to get their permanent teeth, you know that nowadays pediatric dentists are pushing dental sealants pretty hard. The sealants are made out of a plastic material, and are designed to put on more barrier between your child’s teeth and cavity causing substances, especially on parts of the tooth that are generally difficult to brush.
But now those dentists might find dental sealants a harder sell as they’ve joined the fracas about bisphenol-a, otherwise known as BPA, which according to a new analysis is leached from dental sealants. Bans of the chemical have been pushed far and wide, as some negative health effects have been shown from exposure to it — although generally only in lab animals given extremely high doses.
So what’s a parent to do? Play it better safe than sorry, or take the risk to help ensure their child’s dental health? Tough question to answer, as it’s still even unclear whether or not there is any long term effect from BPA exposure in dental sealants, as that type of exposure is short term — even the study authors aren’t calling for it to be eliminated:
While the study authors do not recommend a ban of these dental products with pediatric patients, they caution parents and dentists to take steps that could minimize any potential risks associated with exposure to the ubiquitous chemical, which is found in many plastic products and has been linked to health issues such as male impotence, infant behavioral problems and birth defects.
“The research that exists shows that upon contact with enzymes in the saliva some, but not all, BPA derivatives break down to pure BPA, and that BPA is said to be in saliva for a short time period of up to three hours,” explained study author Dr. Abby F. Fleisch, a pediatrician in the department of medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, which is part of Harvard Medical School.
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