The use of metal amalgam fillings in dentistry is widely debated. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that these fillings are safe for use in dental restorations despite being composed largely of mercury. Over the years, many studies have presented strong evidence that people with amalgam fillings have higher levels of mercury in their bodies than people without them. These studies offer strong evidence of the risks of amalgam fillings, but amalgam is still used in modern dentistry. Part of the problem is that many of the studies demonstrating these increased mercury levels are becoming dated, and few recent studies have been conducted.
Chewing Gum and Amalgam
A 1996 study analyzed the urine mercury content in a group of 18 individuals who regularly chewed nicotine chewing gum compared to a group of 19 individuals who did not. Both groups had about the same number of amalgam fillings, and fillings were roughly the same age. Researchers found that the urine mercury levels in the chewing group were significantly higher than in those who had not chewed nicotine gum regularly. Their findings suggest that chewing gum regularly may increase the amount of mercury released into the body from amalgam fillings.
Mercury Found After Death
Another study, conducted in 2006, focused on testing for mercury levels in brain, thyroid, and kidney tissue samples. The study involved 18 cadavers from routine autopsy casework. Researchers found that mercury content was significantly higher in bodies with more amalgam fillings. In subjects with more than 12 amalgam restorations, brain tissue contained the highest mercury levels. As with the chewing gum study, their findings suggested that dental amalgam caused increased levels of mercury in body tissue.
A Need for More Studies
Despite strong evidence of the relationship between high mercury levels in the body and amalgam fillings, these studies are few and far between. Another part of the reason why dental amalgam is still approved by the ADA despite evidence of being a health risk could be a lack of repeat studies. Although there are a large number of studies that demonstrate higher levels of mercury in people with amalgam fillings, many of these studies are not being repeated. They are conducted once, and then their evidence becomes lost to time.
Avoid the Risk with Holistic Dentistry
Here at our office, we believe in practicing holistic dentistry that protects your overall wellbeing. Abundant evidence exists that amalgam fillings are harmful to your body and the environment. In order to protect your health, we use tooth colored fillings made of a composite material for dental restorations. If you have old amalgam fillings that you would like to have replaced, we are more than happy to help. You should never have to choose between the health of your teeth and the health of your body.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of tooth colored fillings over amalgam fillings, please call 918-528-3330 to meet with a Tulsa dentist.