dave-mittlemanUsing anti-cavity sealants to avoid the painful process of drilling and filling is of course a wonderful option, however, you might want to think twice before putting that sealant on your teeth. Recent reports about the possible harmful effects of Bisphenol-A have created public concern with regard to the presence of Bisphenol A in many dental sealants. Bisphenol-A, a chemical also known as BPA, has been widely used in the manufacturing of many plastic products, such as polycarbonate bottles, plastic tableware, infant bottles, and soft-drink cans. Although our exposure to this chemical is primarily from food supplies, studies have shown that traces of BPA can be found in dental sealants.

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found presence of BPA in 93% of the 2,500 adults and children tested. Although the FDA has reassured us that the chemical is safe, the Department of Health and Human Services has become increasingly concerned about BPA, particularly over its exposure in children. The problem with BPA is that it has estrogen-like effects, meaning that exposure may accelerate puberty and raise a potential risk of cancer. Because laboratory testing has suggested that BPA may affect reproduction and development in children, Canada has decided to add the chemical to the country’s list of toxic substances concluding that babies are getting too much of the gender-bender. Last month, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that adults with higher levels of BPA were more likely to have heart disease or diabetes. This month, another study revealed that BPA might interfere with chemotherapy treatments.

The American Dental Association apparently didn’t like these studies, because they responded by emphasizing that sealants have been shown to offer years of protection against cavities, and that the BPA issue is so minuscule in impact that it doesn’t really warrant the attention it’s been getting. Whether or not these possible side effects are as minuscule as the ADA claims, changing your dental sealant is not as easy as changing your water bottle, so it’s definitely something to think about before you put that anti-cavity sealant on your kid’s teeth.