Popular cavity filing could raise mercury levels in your blood

Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 18:57:59-04

If you have any cavities, beware, a typical go-to dental filling material may raise mercury levels in your body.

This type of cavity filling has been around for more than 150 years because they’re affordable and durable. They’re made of amalgam which is a mixture of mercury, silver and some other metals.

Researchers from the University of Georgia found participants with eight or more fillings had blood mercury levels more than twice as high as people with no fillings. The majority of these levels were below the World Health Organization’s safety thresholds. 

However, a small percentage of participants where above it.

Mercury is a heavy metal and high levels can cause brain, heart, kidney, lung and immune system damage.

Research suggests one form of mercury called methylmercury may cause damage even at low levels.

Roughly 25% of the population has 11 or more cavities. The concern is raising existing mercury levels when you eat a lot of seafood that contains this metal. It raises questions about safety.

Good oral practices can help you avoid cavities in the first place.  So here are my prescriptions:

  1. Brush twice a day, ideally after a meal and use fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Make sure to floss between your teeth. This removes food and bacteria that your toothbrush can’t reach.
  3. Eat Teeth Friendly Foods Like Fruits and Veggies. They’re high in fiber and water and help clean your teeth.
  4. Visit Your Dentist Regularly. Problems get spotted early and you’ll have sparkly clean teeth from the professional cleaning.

Question: Are there other options for cavity fillings?

Instead of using the traditional amalgam fillings, ask for mercury-free composite resin fillings. They’re made of acrylic. 

But be aware these fillings include another hazardous chemical, BPA or bisphenol A.

However, current research has not found an increase of BPA levels in the blood.