Can the kind of fillings your child gets at the dentist affect his mood and behavior? A new study suggests this may be the case.
The study, published in this month's issue of Pediatrics used data collected from 434 children as part of a survey started almost 10 years ago. Half of the kids studied received amalgam fillings for cavities in back teeth, and the rest got composite back fillings while front teeth cavities were always filled with composites.
When composites were used on baby teeth, dentists used fillings with a urethane-based resin, while composites used on permanent teeth got a resin called bis-GMA that is derived from bisphenol A, or BPA. You know, the same chemical that has caused so much controversy in recent years and just yesterday was finally banned from sippy cups an baby bottles. Yup, that BPA.
For this study, researchers followed the children for five years, with the children or their parents periodically submitting information on each child's mood, behaviors (including aggression), attitudes at school and interpersonal relationships.
What did they discover? The changes were small, but the researchers were able to quantify that kids treated with BPA-based dental fillings were more moody, aggressive and generally less well-adjusted than their peers.
Is the BPA responsible for these mood and attitude changes? It's still too soon to tell. And since the original research did not include a behavior assessment for each child, it's difficult to determine exactly when the changes in behavior occurred. Still, it's possible that the BPA was able to leach into the child's system, causing hormonal changes to occur.
What can you do to protect your kids? The best course of action here is prevention. Make sure your kids brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss every night. If they never get a cavity, you won't have to worry about dental fillings at all!