Are Dental Sealants Safe?
One of the most effective ways to reduce and even prevent cavities is with the application of dental sealants. These are thin plastic coverings that guard the biting surface of the teeth, usually the molars. They stop particles from entering and subsequently remaining in the small fissures and cracks of the teeth. While all of this sounds appealing in preserving the health of your teeth, there was some question as to how safe dental sealants are.
The question had to do with a compound called bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, which can be found in dental sealants. Excessive exposure to BPA can potentially be harmful to human health, but a study conducted by the American Dental Association Product Review (a group formed in 2006 under the direction of the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs) has put those concerns to rest.
The group’s findings on dental sealants show that the amount of BPA in dental sealants is so minimal that prospective patients need not worry about its safety.
About the Study
The study conducted by the American Dental Association Product Review analyzed a dozen dental sealants that are commonly used by dentists in the United States. The goals of the study were to determine how much BPA was released when dental sealants were in use and whether this amount put children in danger.
The results of the study showed that dental sealants have the potential to expose children to only 0.09 nanograms of BPA per day, which is considerably below the limit suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency – one million nanograms. In fact, children are exposed to more BPA in drinks, foods, and paper than in dental sealants.
Conclusion: No Concern Needed Over Dental Sealant Safety
Considering the nearly non-existent risks of using dental sealants and the clear benefits that they offer, parents should not have to worry about their children’s safety. For example, a ten-year-old who has dental sealants in place for five years will be half as likely to suffer tooth decay on their molars than children of the same age who brush their teeth on a regular basis.
If you are still concerned about exposure to BPA through dental sealants, there are ways to reduce it potentially. Most exposure occurs in the hours after treatment, so it can help to rinse with water for 20 seconds following the placement of the sealants. Rubbing the newly-applied sealants with a cotton swab, cotton ball, or soft-grit pumice will also reduce exposure significantly.