As your downtown Portland family dentist, Dr. Bajuscak wants every patient to know the risks their oral health can face on a daily basis. While it’s tempting to think of your oral health as only having to do with your teeth and gums, a growing amount of research has found compelling links between an individual’s oral and overall health.
In recent years, studies have found that individuals who suffer from dental decay and disease have a significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic health problems that include cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes, and cancer.
Not only does your oral health impact your overall health, but even the dental procedures you undergo can have a significant effect as well. With that in mind, here’s how the fillings in your teeth may pose a risk to your oral health.
Metallic fillings, long used in dental practices for decades, are made from a combination of tin, copper, silver, and mercury. In fact, elemental mercury comprises nearly 50 percent of the amalgam filling compound and ranks as a vital part that helps to bind the metal together so the compound stays malleable enough to allow for easy placement into the cavity. However, when you consider that mercury is a known neurotoxin, the placement of the compound directly into our mouths can be a cause for concern.
While the Food and Drug Administration emphatically states that amalgam fillings are safe for both children over the age of six and adults, they do admit that metallic fillings release “low level of mercury in the form of vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and kidneys.” The exposure of mercury from amalgam fillings can result in heavy metal toxicity in otherwise healthy individuals.
In 2014, a study was published where researchers acknowledged that chronic exposure to mercury from a variety of sources, including dental amalgams, has been linked to a variety of health problems like depression, anxiety, and fatigue – some of the primary symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The study also that a great deal of evidence existed that amalgam fillings may be the cause of a number of common chronic health problems.
Due to the health risks posed by mercury poisoning, many patients have decided to replace their old metallic fillings with porcelain. However, most dental insurance won’t pay for switching to porcelain fillings. This means patients must weigh the risks when deciding whether or not to remove their old fillings.
Protecting Your Oral Health
While the presence of amalgam fillings can present a potential risk to your oral health, failing to floss, brush, and visit your downtown Portland family dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak actually presents a bigger overall risk.
During routine dental exams, Dr. Bajuscak will check on the status of your existing fillings and make any recommendations needed regarding their safety and/or need for replacement.