Child Behavior and Dental Fillings Linked

By Brooke Strickland

Tooth decay is nasty.  And it’s now a chronic part of many children’s lives due to poor hygiene and the lack of consistent, regular brushing and flossing.  Millions of school age children have cavities because of this, and now, new research shows that non-metal dental fillings in children can also contribute to behavioral issues. The study analyzed data from a study called The New England Children’s Amalgam Trial, and found that when compared with children that have metal fillings, the children with composite or tooth-colored fillings made with BPA derivatives have higher incidences of anxiety, depression, and social stress. Patients that have fillings are exposed to BPA byproducts when the cavity is filled and throughout the wear and tear, some of it can leak out into the body. Fillings are still considered safe and effective methods of treatment, and BPA has been found in much higher concentrations in other products other than dental materials, but this study proves that there should be some kind of re-evaluation of fillings and what goes into them.[1]

BPA , a chemical that can hinder with how hormones work successfully in the body, has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years because of the harmful effects it can have on the body. Some of these effects can include developmental problems in children and heart disease in adults.

The key? Cavity prevention.  First up: avoid lots of sugary foods that can build up on the surfaces of your teeth.  Limit your kids’ sugar intake is not only good for their teeth, but can also cut back on hyperactivity or other behavioral issues.  Next: parents need to stay on top of brushing and flossing with their kids.  Encourage them every night to brush and floss. Make it a routine.  If you have younger children, make a game out of it.  Making it fun will help them be an active part of their overall health and get them excited to take care of their teeth.  If your kids are older, an incentive or reward program might do the trick. 

The bottom line is, you only get one mouth and taking care of it is essential. 

[1] Wade, Leslie. “Dental fillings linked to kids’ behavior problems.” CNNHealth.  July 16, 2012.  Accessed July 26, 2012.