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Children's Health

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Dental Fillings Linked to Slight Behavior Problems

Study Finds Composite Fillings May Release BPA, Linked to Depression, Stress in Children

Dental Fillings and Kids' Behavior: Study Details continued...

There were two types of composite fillings studied. Only one uses BPA to create the filling.

The researcher looked at social and behavioral functioning of 434 of the children in the original study.

The researchers assessed the children's behavior by parent report and, for older children, their own self-reports.

Those with the fillings created with BPA reported more anxiety, depression, social stress, and interpersonal relations problems.

The link was stronger when the fillings created with BPA were on chewing surfaces. When the fillings are on chewing surfaces, wear and tear of the filling over time may be more likely, the researchers say.

The researchers found a link, not cause and effect, and the differences were small, Masserejian says.

For instance, on an assessment where the average score is 50, children who had the BPA-releasing filling were about two to six points below average.

"You probably wouldn't notice in most children that small of a difference on a personal level," she tells WebMD.

Dental Fillings and Kids' Behavior: Perspectives

There is no cause for concern at this time, say two dental experts who reviewed the findings for WebMD.

More research is needed, says Paul Casamassimo, DDS, director of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center.

"We need to be constantly vigilant with kids and look at what we do and find out if these are valid findings over the long term," says Casamassimo, chief of dentistry at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"It's a surprise finding that needs to be verified," says Mary J. Hayes, DDS, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association (ADA) and a pediatric dentist in Chicago.

According to the ADA, BPA can become part of dental fillings or sealants, typically as a byproduct of other ingredients that degrade over time or as a trace material when it is used as a starting ingredient.

The ADA says a typical one-time exposure of BPA from a dental sealant with bis-GMA in a typical child would be two to five times lower than the estimated daily exposure from food and the environment.

BPA doesn't belong in dental fillings for children, says Alex Formuzis, spokesman for the Environmental Working Group. "No product that is used on children or that children are exposed to should contain this toxic chemical."

A spokesperson for the Dental Trade Alliance, an industry group, declined to comment on the findings.

No response was received from Dentsply Caulk, a dental materials manufacturer.

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