Children who have dental sealants put on their teeth to protect from cavities may be exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxic chemical that disrupts the endocrine system. That's the finding in a research paper published online this month in the journal Pediatrics.
According to scientists, BPA is released from dental resins with the salivary gland act on BPA derivatives. The chemical appears in saliva up to 3 hours after resin placement.
Widespread use of dental sealants have been available since the 1990s. Their use is recommended to prevent tooth and gum decay both by The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new research was conducted to help dental experts develop evidence-based guidance for reducing BPA exposures while promoting oral health.
The researchers state, "The evidence is strong that resin based dental sealants improve children's oral health. Also, BPA exposure from dental materials seems transient and can potentially be controlled."
BPA exposure can be reduced by cleaning and rinsing surfaces of sealants and composites immediately after placement. Precautionary measures that can be taken to reduce BPA exposure from dental sealants: removal of residual sealant by rubbing with pumice on a cotton roll or having the patient gargle for 30 seconds and spit immediately after application of the dental sealant or composite.
It is recommended that pregnant women, unless unavoidable, forgo any dental procedures that would exposure her to prudent to unpolymerized dental resin materials during pregnancy.