… and the simple alternative that can save you future heartache
The FDA made a non-decision last week. The agency that is supposed to protect us made it known that they’re continuing to allow dentists to poison children and adults with neurotoxic amalgam (or silver) fillings, despite no science to prove its safety. They failed to address this issue one more time.
What’s in an amalgam (silver) filling?
Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals. This mixture is comprised of liquid mercury and an alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight. Many people call them silver fillings, which is misleading. The correct name is amalgam, which has a lot more mercury than silver.
Yes, mercury! Known as one of the most toxic substances on earth! When put into a tooth as a filling, amalgam releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that is then inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. Then it goes into the tissues, including the brain.
If you have mercury fillings, every time you chew, drink hot liquids or visit the dentist, toxic mercury vapors are released into your body. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, so you don’t even know that you have a continual, long-term exposure to this toxic substance. Mercury from amalgams in a mother’s teeth can be transferred to a developing fetus and to a baby via breast milk.
Is it Safe?
The FDA and the ADA say amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and above. They cite two studies known as the Children’s Amalgam Trials as evidence of safety. But when these studies were re-analyzed, they did, indeed, find potential harm. The researchers came up with this conclusion:
“Thus, taken as a whole these studies do not support assurances that amalgams are safe; rather they suggest that amalgams may be a significant chronic contributor to mercury body burden, and that this may play a causal role in neurobehavioral deficits and other harm to genetically susceptible subpopulations that are only beginning to be identified.” 1
I remember when we were being told that cigarettes were safe. It took over 30,000 scientific studies to “prove” that smoking causes cancer. In the meantime, how many people died during all those years while the tobacco industry was hiding data and creating their own false safety illusions?
The FDA acknowledges this about mercury fillings:
“The developing neurological systems in fetuses and young children may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor. Very limited to no clinical data is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of six, including infants who are breastfed. “
“Bioaccumulation refers to the build-up or steadily increasing concentration of a chemical in organs or tissues in the body. Mercury from dental amalgam and other sources (e.g., fish) is bioaccumulative. Studies of healthy subjects with amalgam fillings have shown that mercury from exposure to mercury vapor bioaccumulates in certain tissues of the body including kidneys and brain.”
Other countries have more common sense. Norway and Sweden have banned amalgam fillings, and Germany and Canada advise against its use in pregnant women and children.
The U.S. dental industry (and the FDA) wants absolute “proof of causation” – meaning that there’s scientific proof that exposure causes specific health issues – before they put out warnings. Well, it’s very difficult in science to get this type of proof of causation when many toxic substances are causing harm in many different ways. We’ve come to a point where we are being exposed to so many chemicals via different pathways that it’s next to impossible to show causation.
Chronic mercury toxicity is very difficult to study and likely to be misdiagnosed since it’s not recognized by many doctors. And it’s not the only source of exposure to mercury, which we know accumulates over time.
What we do know for certain is that the mercury vapor leaches out of the teeth and accumulates in our brains and kidneys and science leaves no doubt that mercury is a neurological poison. Common sense tells us that it doesn’t belong in our children’s mouths! Scientific debate will continue for years while our children continue to be the guinea pigs.
We Need to Invoke The Precautionary Principle
Since the FDA has refused to ban amalgams or even issue a public warning about its neurotoxic risks, it’s up to us, as parents to invoke the precautionary principle. This principle requires action when the possibility of harm exists. Since safety has never been proven and there is science that shows harm, we need to do what we can to protect our children. The good news is that there are safe alternatives!
What are the Alternatives?
Ask your dentist for resin-based composite fillings. If she or he doesn’t use these, then find another dentist. One note of caution – some composite fillings contain BPA, so be sure to ask for BPA-free fillings.
Dental insurance may not cover or will only partially cover the composite fillings. But ask yourself if it’s worth it to pay a little more to lessen the mercury burden of your child’s brain and body. And mercury can weaken teeth – the overall cost of crowns and dental repairs might make it less expensive in the long run to use composite fillings.
What if you or your child already have amalgam fillings?
You can get them removed, but you have to be very careful that it’s done correctly. Removing the amalgam exposes you to even more mercury vapor than leaving it alone, unless proper precautions are used. If you are getting amalgams removed, make certain you are using a dentist who is qualified and knowledgeable of the safe way to do it.
How to Find a Qualified Biological Dentist
It may be difficult to find a knowledgeable biological dentist in your area. Check with friends and neighbors and ask at your local health food store. These links can also help you to find a mercury-free, biological dentist: