Do you believe that your teeth are healthy because you brush and floss daily? There is no denying the fact that brushing and flossing your teeth regularly keeps them healthy and strong. But there is still a good chance that you still end up with a dental problem and you may have to get dental fillings, if required. Now a new study has come up with a new claim which says that people with more than eight dental fillings are at an increased risk of brain, heart and kidney damage. It was found that these people had more mercury in their blood.
Dental fillings AKA dental surface restorations are made from the amalgam of mercury, silver, tin and other metals. The research was conducted by University of Georgia in the U.S where data from 15,000 individuals was analysed to find a link between dental fillings and mercury exposure.
The lead author of the study, Lei Yin, a scientist at University of Georgia said “Tooth decay is one of the most rampant chronic diseases. According to him, majority of people have experienced dental fillings, but the kind of materials their dentists use is not something that is really discussed,”
Mercury exposure from dental fillings is not a new concern, but previous studies were inconsistent and limited said Xiaozhong Yu, assistant professor at University of Georgia.
“This study is trying to provide the most accurate levels of exposure, which will form the scientific basis to make future risk assessment,” said Yu.
It was the first study to control for age, education, ethnicity, race, gender, smoking and seafood consumption, which also contributes to mercury levels in the body, he said.
Researchers further analysed exposure by specific types of mercury and found a significant increase in methyl mercury, which is the most toxic form, related to dental fillings.
Yu said this result suggests the human gut microbiota, a collection of microorganisms living in the intestines, may transform different types of mercury.
Dental amalgam has been the go-to dental filling material for more than 150 years, because it is affordable and durable than other materials.
However, about half of the compound contains mercury, a heavy metal known to be toxic at high levels and can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidney, lung and immune system.
New research suggests that methyl mercury may cause damage even at low levels.
“As toxicologists, we know that mercury is poison, but it all depends on the dose. If you have one dental filling, maybe it is ok. But if you have more than eight dental filings, the potential risk for adverse effect is higher,” Yu said.
People with numerous dental fillings who are also exposed to mercury from other sources, such as seafood or work environments, are most at risk.
The results show that individuals with more than eight fillings had about 150% more mercury in their blood than those with none.
The study also looked at dental composite resins, a mercury-free alternative for dental fillings that can release small amounts of bisphenol A which may cause developmental or reproductive damage.
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