When a patient asks to have their mercury amalgam fillings removed, we always want to be sure that their new fillings are made with biocompatible materials. You never want to take out one source of toxicity only to replace it with another.
Yet that’s exactly what some makers of plastic products have done with BPA, and evidence continues to mount that some of those BPA replacements may be just as problematic.
The latest comes courtesy of a new study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, which explored the association between BPA and two common substitutes, BPF and BPS, and obesity in youth.
Analyzing NHANES data from over 1800 children and teens, researchers found that the more BPS that turned up in their urine samples, the greater their risk of obesity. The presence of BPF was linked to a greater likelihood of overweight, as well as abdominal obesity.
“Although diet and exercise are still understood to the main drivers of obesity, this research suggests that common chemical exposures may also play a role, specifically among children,” said [lead author Melanie] Jacobson in a press release.
The study didn’t determine bisphenol exposure as the cause of the children’s weight gain, but researchers say it’s plausible. Previous studies similar to this one have found associations between bisphenols and obesity, and toxicological studies in mice have suggested that these chemicals play a role by making fat cells bigger and decreasing adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
These results are slightly different from those of a smaller study published earlier this year in the Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. In that case, researchers looked at NHANES data from 745 kids between the ages of 6 and 17. They found that exposure to BPF – but not BPS – was linked with both general and abdominal obesity. The relationship was especially pronounced in boys.
Obesity, of course, is linked with a higher risk of other inflammatory conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Suffice it to say, BPA and like compounds are not what we’d consider biocompatible, so we favor BPA-free composite for fillings we need to do. There are a growing number of such materials available. Ceramic restorations are another BPA-free option.
Of course, the best dentistry is no dentistry, which is why we favor prevention first. Chances are you’re already on the right path when it comes to the kind of oral hygiene, nutrition, and overall healthy lifestyle choices that help keep your teeth in good shape for a lifetime.
Should there come a time for restorative or other dental work – for yourself or your family – know that biocompatibility is a must. We also ensure quality control and greater biocompatibility safety by having our own in-house dental lab. And for those with greater sensitivities or systemic issues, serum blood testing is available – the gold standard for assessing individual biocompatibility.
For while there are some materials that we’d consider broadly biocompatibile, not every material is right for every person. We don’t do one-size-fits-all dentistry here.
What does matter is being on the same team when it comes to understanding the tooth-body connection, keeping up with our awareness and research of new products and treatments and their effects, and finding the right mix of materials and therapies that support your healing and your whole body wellness.