A freshly released study in the medical journal Pediatrics reveals that many sealants and fillings used by dentists for children’s teeth may expose them to bisphenol A (BPA). According to the new research, BPA is released from dental resins through “Salivary enzymatic hydrolysis of BPA derivatives” and the BPA is detectable in a child’s saliva for up to 3 hours after resin placement.

How dangerous is this?

According to the research available, your kids have a much larger chance of being exposed to BPA via sources such as metal food can linings, plastic food-storage containers and plastic water bottles then they do being exposed via dental work. So far researchers aren’t even sure about the quantity and duration of systemic BPA absorption from sealants and fillings.

Don’t Avoid Dental Care

First and foremost, you should not allow your child to avoid the dentist. Proper dental care, and yes, even sealants are more important than avoiding tiny amounts of BPA. Dental sealants, overall have proven to be an effective way to prevent a large majority of dental cavities in children and teens. Take the time to learn about eco-friendly dental care and always use an eco-friendly, BPA-free toothbrush along with natural toothpaste, but never avoid dental care.

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What to do if You’re Concerned

Have a discussion with your child’s dentist about smart ways to limit BPA exposure. According to this new study, some dental products contain more BPA than others. For example, the study notes, “Dental products containing the bisphenol A derivative glycidyl dimethacrylate (bis-GMA) are less likely to be hydrolyzed to BPA and have less estrogenicity than those containing bisphenol A dimethacrylate (bis-DMA).” BPA exposure can further be reduced if your child’s dentist cleans and rinses the surface of any sealants and composites immediately after placement in your little one’s mouth.

Because BPA has been shown to cross the placenta, the researchers do note that women should attempt to get dental care completed before becoming pregnant and that use of sealant and filling materials should be minimized during pregnancy whenever possible.

Researchers included in the study hale from Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, New York. Again, these researchers stress that “Dental materials present a far smaller and much less frequent exposure to BPA than other items.

Read more about the study: Bisphenol A and Related Compounds in Dental Materials.

[last image © Flickr user emrank; first image via morguefile]