At Dentistry for Children, we are aware you might have read recent controversial articles on BPA or Bisphenol A in dental sealants.  In this week’s blog article from Dentistry for Children we aim to assure you that dental sealants are safe and healthy for your child.

BPA in dental sealant is minimal.

BPA Exposure is Minimal, and Dental Sealant offers children  maximum protection from cavities.

We have previously written an extensive article on the great value of dental sealants.  This might be a good time to read or review it.  In the war on cavities, dental sealants provide proven ammunition.  In this article we will address not only the good results from dental sealants, but also a controversial concern:  BPA.  Some journalists have condemned dental sealants for increasing exposure to Bisphenol A. It is also known as BPA.  The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defines it as “a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.”

BPA: Poison In Plastic Resin?

BPA  is an substance found in many plastic products you use every day.  It is common in plastic resins.  It is found in some food containers. Sometimes it manifests as a by-product in some dental preparations.  We will be telling you more about Bisphenol A in this article.

In spite of the studies that show the value of sealants in preventing decay and bacterial infections, we continue to see alarming articles about dental sealants and BPA.  Many dental sealants do contain a miniscule amount of BPA, which happens as a by-product of their manufacturing process.

To negate this largely undeserved “bad press,” let’s look at some of the facts behind the safety of dental sealants, based on the ADA Professional Product Review.

BPA Exposure and Your Life

BPA is in food packaging.

BPA (Bisphenol A) has been found in high levels in plastic coated cans.

1.       The general population is exposed to 100 more times more BPA in simple breathing, than in a dental sealant treatment.  This happens because the dust of the modern world is permeated with this chemical.

2.       Likewise you can receive 96 percent more BPA in food and drink  than you could receive in a treatment with a dental sealant.  Much of our food is packaged with containers that feature–you guessed it—Bisphenol A.

For example, that nice slick plastic coating inside some aluminum cans is laced with BPA.  Many major food companies have pledged to change this practice by mid-2017.  You see, the quantity of Bisphenol A used in food packaging, scores remarkably high.  In fact, at 96%,  the exposure in food and drink is thousands of times higher than the miniscule amount of  Bisphenol A that might be found in a dental sealant treatment.

BPA has a chemical formula, but very low exposure in dental sealants.

BPA: A chemical that intrudes on our daily modern lives, in water, air and food.

3.       Printed price-tags and computerized receipts for store-bought products carry a Bisphenol A content that is  2 percent higher than any dental sealant treatment.

4.       In teeth, properly coated with a dental sealant, we see only 0.001 percent exposure to Bisphenol A.  This minor amount usually dissipates within  a couple of hours of a treatment.  Balance this against the pain and expense the recent epidemic of tooth infection and decay.

The New York Times recently reported, “B.P.A. has been detected in patients’ saliva just after sealant treatment, though none has been detected a day later and never in their blood.  To date there is no evidence that sealants lead to patient harm, while there is considerable evidence of benefits.

Thus we reaffirm the use of dental sealants as part of a parent’s full management program to retain a child’s oral health. Sealants are carefully applied to the occlusal surfaces of teeth “to penetrate anatomic surface pits and fissures” and physically protect your child’s teeth.  “For a number of years, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has recommended placing sealants on the primary and permanent molars of all children and adolescents to prevent caries.”

Summary of BPA In a Tooth-Shell

In spite of this strong statement, media rumors persist.  Some articles misinform the public by stating that the ADA has not endorsed the use of dental sealants. The numbered list below puts the story in a nutshell (or a “tooth-shell.”)  With this little summary, we hope you will  might gain perspective on both BPA and tooth decay:

1.        Biphenol A sometimes occurs in some dental composites or sealants as a by-product. At times the miniscule amount might generate from degradation of the coating.  Degradation could happen due to excessive bruxism or rough, very sticky candy.  Likewise, unprofessional application could cause a patient to be unusually exposed to Bisphenol A.

Dental Sealant protects molars from decay.

BPA is Minimal, but protection from decay is maximized with dental sealant.

2.       Typically, you would only be able to find a tiny amount of Bisphenol A, in a dental sealant.  The numbers reveal only a 0.001 percent exposure rate in dental sealant.  As we stated above, this percentage results from very tiny trace contamination at the time of manufacture.
“ADA research, confirmed by direct communications from dental material manufacturers, shows that BPA is not used as a formula ingredient in dental materials.”  The concept that sealant is entirely made of BPA is a misinterpretation of the facts and has never been true.

3.       If a sealant is incorrectly applied or the curing light used for setting the sealant is malfunctioning, BPA exposure could be greater.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives us scientific guidance on health issues such as BPA exposure.  Likewise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides us with recommendations on dental product safety.  The National Toxicology Program of HHS and the FDA have both ruled they would permit the use of Bisphenol A, but continue regulations.  They would continue “to provide for the minimal use of BPA in dental materials, medical devices, and food packaging.”
We have reviewed the effectiveness, endorsements and legality of dental sealants. Now we are ready for Part Two of this coverage of concern for BPA in dental sealants.  Next week we will share our 6 primary rules for your child’s safety when we use dental sealants with a minimum of BPA Exposure.