BPA? What is it? BPA or Bisphenol-A is an organic compound that is widely used in the manufacture of many consumer plastic products, and has been found in some dental composites and sealants. BPA exhibits hormone-like (estrogen) properties that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers. Some laboratory testing has suggested that BPA may effect reproduction and development in animals by mimicking the effects of the female hormone estrogen. This testing is raising concerns about its safety.
Common Items Containing BPA
-Baby Bottle-Water Bottles
-Medical and Dental Devices
-Dental composite filling
-Cd’s and DVD’s
-Lining of Water Pipes
-Lining of Soda cans
Health Effects Of BPA
BPA is thought to mimic a form of estrogen, called estradiol, and may lead to negative health effects. The earlier the exposure, greater the sensitivity to its effects. Some studies have linked prenatal exposure to later physical and neurological difficulties. The FDA have determined safety levels for humans, but those safety levels are currently being questioned or are under review as a result of newer, more in depth research studies. A 2011 study that investigated the number of chemicals pregnant women are exposed to in the U.S. found BPA in 96% of women.
BPA and Dentistry
There are three ways BPA can become a part of dental materials:
-As a direct component from manufacturing in dental composites or dental sealants.
-As a by product of degrading dental composites or dental sealants in the mouth. Composite resins are formulated from a mixture of monomers that are commonly based on bisphenol A glycidyl methacrylate (bis-GMA). Some composite resins may contain other monomers, in addition to bis-GMA, that are added to modify the properties of the resin. An example is bisphenol A dimethacrylate (bis-DMA). Bis-DMA-containing materials can release very small quantities of BPA because bis-DMA is subject to degradation by salivary enzymes.
-As a trace material during manufacture of dental materials. BPA may be used in the production of other ingredients found in some dental composites and sealants. Bis-DMA and bis-GMA are both produced using BPA as a starting ingredient, so residual trace amounts of BPA may be present in the final product.
There are many products utilized for “white” fillings. You can ask if your dentist is BPA free. The products utilized should not contain BPA, and even better if there is also no Bis DMA.
There have been numerous studies conducted. One of the most recent ones linked BPA to children’s behavior a few years following placement of BPA containing dental restorations. The studies showed their was some effect but it was quite small and not known if it was a direct link or not. Further studies need to be completed over the long haul, but most dentists and manufacturers are moving away from dental materials containing BPA.
There are many articles on line about the effects of exposure to BPA, posing different levels of concern. Hopefully, future research will continue with the evolution of even better products to keep us all healthier.
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