Dental fillings linked to kids' behavior problems
July 16th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Dental fillings linked to kids' behavior problems

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the U.S. for kids. In fact, more than half of elementary school students will have cavities by the time they're in second grade, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

Since the 1970s, dentists have been using tooth-colored fillings that contain derivatives of the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA), in favor of the metal amalgam fillings.

Now a new analysis on dental fillings in children suggests these non-metal fillings may contribute to behavioral problems.  The study authors caution that their results only point to an association; they say their analysis does not prove that BPA causes any behavior changes.

Researchers looked at data from a previous study called The New England Children's Amalgam Trial, which was designed to examine the overall health effects of metal fillings in children, but also included children with composite or tooth-colored fillings. This study in particular was analyzed because it's really the only one looking at dental composites and behavioral problems, according to lead author Nancy N. Maserejian.

The scientists found that young people who got tooth-colored fillings made with BPA derivatives reported higher rates of anxiety, depression and social stress, compared to children whose fillings were made with metals or other materials. The more fillings a child had, the greater the incidence of behavioral problems, according to the data.

But the researchers are quick to point out that the levels of BPA were not measured in more than 400 children who participated in the study.

"There is a strong suggestion that the associations may be causal, but we can't be certain," says Maserejian, an epidemiologist with the New England Research Institutes. "More research is needed."

BPA is an industrial chemical that's been used in hard plastic products and in the linings of metal and aluminum cans since the 1960s.  Concerns about the effects of this chemical were raised as recently as 2008. That's when a report released by the  National Toxicology Program expressed “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.”

BPA has come under scrutiny for possible associations with a variety of health problems including developmental problems in young children and heart disease in adults.

This chemical is an endocrine disruptor, which means it interferes with how hormones work in the body.

In 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed the same concerns as the 2008 report.  Earlier this year, the FDA decided not to ban BPA in products made in the United States, cautioning that this announcement was not a final determination.  The FDA says it continues to support research examining the safety of BPA.

Experts speculate that dental patients may be exposed to BPA in two ways - when cavities are filled and various chemicals interact with our saliva, and/or over time as it leaches out due to wear and tear. 

When asked about the safety concerns due to BPA raised in this study, Michele Mummert, a spokesperson for Dentsply (a manufacturer of dental cavity composites) said: "Dental composites are one of several safe and effective options to treat tooth decay," and referred CNN to the American Dental Association's website for more information about dental treatment option.

Dr. Joel Berg is the president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. He supports the use of tooth-colored fillings because he says he knows they help children with cavities.

"Both amalgams and composites [tooth-colored fillings] are safe materials. They are both effective, they have been shown to be effective for years and years," explains Berg. "This is one study that has an early finding in the context of a larger group of studies looking at BPA, in a wide variety of materials where it's much more prevalent than in dental materials."

He also points out that the chemicals used in fillings are constantly improving and that what was used during the time of the original study (1997 to 2005) may be less safe than what we have today.

Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri and a well-known critic of BPA, sees it differently. "This study provides evidence that the use of BPA-based composites should be re-evaluated."

Despite the lack of agreement on the safety of BPA, neglecting to treat cavities is dangerous and can lead to serious health issues for children, particularly from untreated infections.  Which is why Berg says getting children in the habit of brushing and taking care of their teeth is essential.

"Preventing cavities is the message I like to get out to children and parents," says Berg. 

He urges parents to discuss any concerns about their child's filling with the pediatric dentist.

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Joe

    When asked about the safety concerns due to BPA raised in this study, Michele Mummert, a spokesperson for Dentsply (a manufacturer of dental cavity composites) said: "Dental composites are one of several safe and effective options to treat tooth decay"
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sounds like an automaton. I swear, sometimes I believe some "people" aren't even real humans... just zombies placed to brainwash everybody else on the government's "line".

    July 16, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Grey

      Yes... all politicians have fallen into this category for most of my 50 years of adult life.

      July 16, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • math

      YES....EXCEPT this is an industry spokesman, not a government official.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • math

      spokeswoman.....my bad.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      This is all a bunch of nonsense.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
    • Randall "Texrat" Arnold

      Exactly what I was thinking. I almost choked when I read that garbage. How do people speak it?

      July 16, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      math, why does the fact that it was an industry spokesperson give you so much confidence? Of course an industry spokesperson is invested in defending current industry practices...

      July 16, 2012 at 20:35 | Report abuse |
  2. Sy2502

    So, they never measured the levels of BPA in the children, but "There is a strong suggestion that the associations may be causal". Big hands for bad science!

    July 16, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Josh

      Finding the association between exposure levels and outcomes is legitimate epidemiology. Another study may find that BPA levels can vary from person to person, but establishing exposure to BPA and behavioral problems is a good start.

      July 16, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • math

      One could also argue that children with more cavities have behavior problems before they get the fillings. That is why they have cavities....they won't stay out of the 'cookie jar'.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • math

      ...and they won't listen to their parents and brush their teeth!

      July 16, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
  3. Corey

    Interesting but VERY early in the causal link chain. I bet there is a study that shows kids with cavities eat more sugar. And then there is probably another study that shows that kids who eat more sugar in their diet tend to have more behavior outbursts. Somehow we fill the gap in data with "kids who have cavity fillings have more behavior problems".

    July 16, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • longtooth

      You're making sense. You'd better stop before they take you away.

      July 16, 2012 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • phil21

      The study compared children with 2 types of fillings and so would seem to control for the expectation that kids with more cavities have more behavior issues. Its time to check for chemicals in the kids who have these fillings, and to find out if errors are made when they are being put in the children's teeth.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Thank you, Phil. It is fun to watch these folks, who have never been involved in a scientific process use their valuable time to type unsupported critiques. The initial part of the process is to find out if there is an observable correlation. If so, as the article states, further studies will be performed (e.g. to measure the BPA).

      July 16, 2012 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
    • Tooth Decay

      Tooth-colored fillings are signficantly more expensive than amalgam, to the point that they are NOT covered by insurance. Oh, look, richer people are more stressed!

      Studies using prior unrelated studies are bogus in the extreme.

      July 16, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • freelance7

      Your Honor, my client had two cavities when he was a kid...

      July 16, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • Jimulacrum

      This is precisely the kind of lurking variable that came to mind when I read the short list of behavioral problems. In order to truly cover the issue, they will need to look closely at this kind of thing—particularly the differences between kids who needed fillings solely because of poor dental hygiene, versus kids whose teeth rotted because they drink a gallon of soda and eat a half-pound of snacks loaded with high fructose corn syrup every day.

      Of course, that kind of empirical study will probably be unduly influenced by the sugar- and corn-peddling associations at every turn, but it's worth pursuing. Sugar and its analogs are stimulants; it stands to reason that they're a factor in behavioral issues, especially in children.

      July 16, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Corey, I also believe that there are many potential alternative explanations that have to be explored before that causal link is accepted, but the sugar one is not one of them. Why? Because the study is not looking at fillings vs. no fillings, it's looking at BPA fillings vs. metal fillings. So unless you're trying to propose that kids who got cavities from eating sugar are the ones who are more likely to have BPA vs. metal fillings (which I don't see as plausible), that's one alternative explanation that we can rule out.

      July 16, 2012 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
  4. Sunflower

    If amalgams are so "safe", why are thousands of people going and having them removed at the advice of their dentists????? that is NOT what I've heard....

    July 16, 2012 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doitagain

      My dentist told me it was a scam; the older metalic looking ones last for a lifetime, generally. The new tooth colored ones need to be changed, won't last longer than 5-10 years. So which ones do you think most dentists will push?

      July 16, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • Wade

      I'm in the camp that says that mercury amalgams are not safe. I had 11 mercury amalgams for more than 40 years and now I'm on a long term program to remove mercury from my brain and other organs. I've got numerous symptoms, nearly all of which have improved steadily after I had them removed.

      July 16, 2012 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      I grew up with metal fillings, they are just plain gross. They are ugly, discolor the tooth and give the tooth a bacteria stink. The corners always peeled up and my tongue would catch. The first thing I did when I became an adult was remove them and put in quality tooth composites. I have been so much happier and so far they are doing a great job.

      July 16, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      If their dentist is advising replacing amalgams for "health" reason then that doctor runs the risk of loosing their license. The ADA consideres this unethical behaviour because it is NOT supported by any scientific evidence and those that perform this have either a preexisting ideology or are unscrupulous.

      July 16, 2012 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
    • Wade

      Patrick, at one time doctors advised that cigarette smoking was beneficial to one's health. Nobody will ever convince me that the mercury in my amalgams was not the cause of the twenty-odd symptoms I now have. Research the roots of the ADA. It was formed by dentists in the 1800's who wanted to promote the use of mercury in fillings even though the prevailing wisdom at that time was that mercury in fillings was not safe. They were booted from the 'no-mercury; dental association.

      July 16, 2012 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • isaacyankem

      Lila, amalgams do not cause "bacteria stink smell", bacteria cause that from the decay around your old amalgam filling. Which was able to lift up and cause that smell because the filling failed , most likely due to poor oral hygiene. Dentists used to mix amalgam and squeeze out the mercury in a cheese cloth, they also weren't wearing gloves. If the minute amounts of mercury are so toxic why is there not some world wide epidemic of dentists with some sort of problem? Worldwide there have been billions of amalgams placed in the last fifty years. There would be something going on.

      July 17, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
  5. businessofme

    Seriously? I know that the authors caution that their report only points to an association rather than causation, but this will now have parents flipping out in the same way bad research over vaccines have many convinced that they cause autism. This type of article should come with a warning label. Did the researchers ever think that maybe, just maybe, the cause could be something else entirely? Like the fact that kids who have a lot of cavities often have poor nutrional habits. They are likely eating more sugar and fewer healthy vegetables. How many of these children were overweight? Could that have been the cause of their anxiety? Stress? What were the other contributing factors here? Is there a socio-economic difference between children who receive the different types of fillings? That can also contribute to self-esteem (although often in ways we don't expect).

    I'm not saying that BPA is safe by any means, but this "study" needs to come with a serious warning not to take it too seriously.

    July 16, 2012 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • phil21

      The study compared kids with tooth colored fillings to kids with metal fillings, so it controlled for possible problems that are just associated with cavities. Reporting this study now is useful because parents have to choose which type of filling should be used, metal vs. tooth color. It is reasonable that they should have this information when they decide whether the tooth colored fillings are worth the extra money.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Read the details of the study. They compared the BPA fillings to metal fillings and to no fillings at all. You can certainly make an association between BPA fillings and metal fillings. The metal fillings would act as the control group because they would likely have the same nutritional background and SES as the BPA-exposed group.

      It is not the responsibility of the researchers to explain the difference between association and causation, that's more in the hands of our education system producing scientifically illiterate citizens.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • Randall "Texrat" Arnold

      Try not to confuse an article about a study (no quotes necessary) with the actual study.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  6. Boo

    Here we go again.....another bull**** study...ANY study that includes the words "MAY CAUSE" is just fearmongering.....

    July 16, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      Yeah – the first tobacco studies listed a "casual connection" between smoking and lung cancer. Just fearmongering I guess. Could be worse – they could be posting just to see themselves font.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • Randall "Texrat" Arnold

      You convinced me: let's quit performing studies designed to investigate a possibility. It's too dangerous to release cautionary information upon the general soundbite-consuming public.

      On that note, let's just quit all studies altogether. Ignorance is such bliss.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • steven harnack

      The "may" is there because of idiots like you who, if something doesn't kill you the moment that you use it, refused to accept any warning. Plutonium "may cause" radiation poisoning, why don't you go play with some to find out?

      July 16, 2012 at 14:54 | Report abuse |
  7. g

    probably not the filling that is the issue. more likely that kids getting cavities come from a poor parenting situation allowing soda and candy more often than educated parents resulting in more fillings.

    July 16, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aguy

      YEP. My thoughts exactly

      July 16, 2012 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Nope, read the article more carefully. There are many alternative explanations, but that's clearly not one of them. The reason? The study found that the behavioral problems are more likely to be associated with BPA fillings than metal fillings. So unless you have some reason why kids with BPA fillings would have different nutritional habits than kids with metal fillings, that explanation doesn't work.

      My thinking is that there are all kinds of alternative explanations that need to be ruled out based on the fact that the two comparisons were from different time periods–metal fillings used to be common but BPA fillings are more common now. So most of the subjects with metal fillings got them at an earlier time, versus the more recent BPA fillings. That brings into question whatever else has changed in dental practices between now and then, which could be the true causal factor whereas the change from metal to BPA fillings was just another non-causal thing that happened to change during the same time period. More research needs to be done to rule out alternative explanations.

      July 16, 2012 at 22:35 | Report abuse |
  8. Crazy

    Call me crazy for this thought, but what if the root cause of the problem was the persons diet, and that led to both tooth decay, and behavior issues.

    July 16, 2012 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • longtooth

      You already called yourself crazy.

      July 16, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Randall "Texrat" Arnold

      Already explained in the article. Try reading slower.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      But the problem with that theory is that it's ruled out by the fact that the study showed that kids with BPA fillings are more likely to have the behavioral problems than are kids with metal fillings. There's no reason to believe that the nutritional habits of kids with metal fillings are any better or worse than the nutritional habits of kids with BPA fillings.

      July 16, 2012 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
  9. Steve Lyons

    One line in this report really yanks my chain. "More research is needed" –> Translation, we need another bigger government grant to milk. . . . . .

    July 16, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred Evil

      Yeah, I know science is big and scary, and gub'mint is the devil's work, but studies are VERY finite in what they examine. They take very controlled, very minute aspects of living, and look for variances. Once the FIND a variance (the result of THIS study) then they can go and figure out why that variance exists, and what causes it.
      If left to people like you, we'd still be without FIRE, because you wouldn't want to share the twigs you'd picked up with anyone else (those lazy freeloaders!!).

      July 16, 2012 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Actually Fred, I beg to differ. Oh, not on the value of research, where I agree with you completely, but on the accuracy of saying that research is done in a very controlled setting with little things varying. What you're saying is entirely true of lab studies, but the opposite is true of field studies such as this one, since that level of control isn't available in the field.

      For example, one non-controlled factor that leads to a whole host of alternative explanations for this study is the fact that the two comparisons were from different time periods–metal fillings used to be common but BPA fillings are more common now. So most of the subjects with metal fillings got them at an earlier time, versus the more recent BPA fillings. That brings into question whatever else has changed in dental practices between now and then, which could be the true causal factor whereas the change from metal to BPA fillings was just another non-causal thing that happened to change during the same time period. More research needs to be done to rule out alternative explanations. Now that the field research brought to light this possibility, this is a good time to take the hypothesis that BPA fillings lead to behavioral issues into a lab, where variables can be more tightly controlled and causality can be more definitively established.

      This shows how applied research and lab research both have their strengths and drawbacks and should be used to compliment each other. It also shows why anytime there's an initial study on something this big, more research needs to be done. The same was true when the first (imperfect) study demonstrating the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was published. Clearly more research needed to be done. But does that make the first study worthless? Of course not, because it led to a whole body of research ultimately demonstrating what we now know as a given–that long-term cigarette smoking is very likely to lead to lung cancer (along with all of the other health risks associated with it that we found out through follow-up research that was ultimately a chain reaction from that first study...).

      July 16, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
  10. Choose One

    So my choices are: 1) Mercury "Metal" Fillings or 2) BPA Fillings. It's the year 2012. Why can't the world of dentistry develop a safe product for fillings. It's only been about 150 years that the ADA's been around.

    July 16, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • phil21

      Do your own research but there are many reasons to stick with metal fillings. They last longer, and have been showed to not cause harm for a longer period.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • aforster

      There are composite filling materials that do not contain BPA. I am a dentist in Portland, Oregon and at my office I use BPA-free filling materials (I am Mercury-free as well btw) and I have not had any problems with quality or outcomes. The material is not exactly cheap but peace of mind is priceless.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Randall "Texrat" Arnold

      phil21, you missed his point: take mercury (a serious poison) out of the long-lasting metal fillings.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
    • Wade

      My own experience indicates that mercury fillings are not safe. I had 11 mercury amalgams for more than 40 years and now I'm on a long term program to remove mercury from my brain and other organs. I've got numerous symptoms, nearly all of which have improved steadily after I had them removed.

      July 16, 2012 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • Kenniemd

      Your choices are to a) Brush b) Floss c) a&b d) let your teeth rot

      I think I'll go with c)
      BTW: I'm a dentist

      July 16, 2012 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Kenniemd, no you're absolutely wrong here. Those are your only choices only if you're completely ignoring the field of biological dentistry. Biological dentists have a slew of alternative materials for filling that have neither mercury or BPAs, and it amazes me how many conventional dentists know nothing about this.

      July 16, 2012 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      As per my last comment, this also illustrates how far behind the ball the US is getting. There are a number of other countries where biological dentistry is pretty common. Here the biological dentists are few and far between, partly because of the stranglehold the American Dental Association has on what's covered by insurance–biological dentists aren't covered by US insurance plans, despite the ton of research out there (mostly done in other countries where the ADA and medical 'powers that be' don't have a stranglehold on which research gets funded, the dental programs in universities, etc.), demonstrating how much better it actually is than the conventional dentistry practiced here.

      July 16, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
  11. NN

    But are there any other elements in the composite fillings? Surely they are not 100% BPA. Sounds like they're just trying to pin more adverse effects on BPA.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred Evil

      Trying to PIN it on BPA?! Or is this simply additional data that demonstrates BPA isn't as safe as we thought?
      Why don't you leave BPA ALONE!!?

      July 16, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  12. absolutely

    Yes and having sex may cause me to ejaculate

    July 16, 2012 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      But it may NOT as well!

      July 16, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  13. Richard

    Mercury amalgams looking pretty good now, huh paranoids?

    July 16, 2012 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • daveyoung

      Better than Obamunism Richard

      July 16, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
    • Wade

      I had 11 mercury amalgams for more than 40 years and now I'm on a long term program to remove mercury from my brain and other organs. Not really a joking matter for many people.

      July 16, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Obamunism?! LOL!!
      Psssst, your ODS is showing!

      July 16, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  14. Burbank

    Maybe it's the other way around. Badly behaved children usually point to bad parenting. Bad parenting usually involves giving the kid lots of sugar and soda as well as lack of discipline. Lots of sugar and soda cause cavities.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. daveyoung

    Perhaps BPA poisoning would explain Obama`s failed policies and his radical social engineering and love or Mao ? If so, we should complain to the American Dental Association or the Kenyan/ Indonesian Dental Associations. Whatever....

    July 16, 2012 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnny 5

      Obama is just a front man. The real decisions are made behind the curtain.

      July 16, 2012 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
  16. Elkhan

    The argument that it might be linked to sugar and not bpa is meaningless. Obviously, the research was comparing kids that ALL had cavities. The difference was the filler and when "tooth colored" was selected, then undesirable consequences were more likely than with the other solution. Also, it appears from the article that the number of such fillings also affected the situation further proving that there is a ground for serious concern.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Time Bandit

    If this non metal amalgam effects kids behavior, what effect does it have on adults? I have 4 teeth done because my dentist said they were aesthetically better, I feel another product needs to be used.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. David

    I don't believe that no one suggested that we STOP using the ones that MAY be causing problems and go back to the ones that weren't.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Newmoon2

    Tooth colored fillings COST more than the metal amalgam fillings. Could there be a socio-economic correlation? I'd say that is more likely. Children whose parents are more concerned about the appearance aspects and willing to pay the additional cost are also more likely to put pressure on their children to be 'beautiful'.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Janer

    call me crazy, but my guess is that parents are the major issue with children's behavioral problems.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. independentlyowned

    Maybe kids who have parents that allow them to eat tons of sugar and don't make them brush their teeth have behavior problems because their parents suck?

    July 16, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. More Candy Please

    Of course they never considered that children with more cavities probably indulge in more sweets, have a poor diet, and likely poor dental hygiene...which may also contribute to, or be indicative of...beahvioral problems. Sounds like another money maker for trail lawyers...please be advised that your dentist will be raising his rates to accomodate the increase in his malpractive insurance premiums. The next cavity you experience may be in your wallet.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. jackarouu

    So that is why I have been behaving so erratically. Now I have someone to blame (instead of myself) for my behavior:
    my DENTST!

    July 16, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Zombieland

    Is it because of the fillings this happened? or is it because children who need fillings tend to eat more candy/have poor parental control, that this happened? corellation does not show causation

    July 16, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred Evil

      You didn't even read the article, did you?! IT SPECIFICALLY SAID correlation does not equal causation. IN ADDITION, this is a finding for kids with JUST the BPA fillings, as those with metal fillings did not have the same concerns, meaning that poor diet/oral hygiene is likely not the determining factor.

      July 16, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Zombieland, also please re-read the part of the article stating that the finding also holds for BPA fillings vs. metal fillings (with more behavioral problems in the kids that had BPA fillings). Therefore the candy explanation doesn't hold water, given that kids with metal fillings were just as likely to have gotten their dental problems from eating candy as were kids with BPA fillings. Of course, there are a slew of other alternative explanations for causality, but this just isn't one of them.

      July 16, 2012 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  25. Sunny

    I believe there could be a causal relationship. My six yr old has had three tooth colored fillings and around the same time frame significant behavior issues. Her baby teeth lack enamel because she was premie making her more prone to cavities. Her permanent teeth should be healthy.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. MichaelDBoston

    Isn't it possible that the causal link is the other way? Children with these behavioral issues may get the tooth colored fillings more frequently than those without? Meaning that the tooth colored fillings are a method of soothing the behavioral issues while other children without issues get the metal fillings. Just wondering...

    July 16, 2012 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. chthys

    Hmmm. The more fillings they had, the more behavioral problems.

    Do you think they could examine the amount of SUGAR these kids consumed, which largely produced all these cavities?

    Then we could get an industry spokesman/woman from the sugar industry telling us not to worry.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Phil

    So stupid.

    Let me explain it to you.

    There is a link, but the BAD BEHAVIOR causes TOOTH DECAY. Not the other way around. If the child doesn't listen to directions, the child does not brush teeth, the child gets cavities. Holy Crap, I can't believe this is not obvious to anyone. I guess you have to have a kid of your own to understand the link between the two.

    July 16, 2012 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Jennifer K.

    This is obviously a correlational study, but what about the fact that tooth decay issues are from eating a "Standard American Diet" full of processed foods, grains, and sugar? Those right there are the leading cause of tooth decay, and behavioral issues in kids. CNN, you should know better before publishing this articles.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Norm

    Maybe children with more cavities are misbehaving because of all the sugary junk they eat that makes them hyperactive.
    Can I get a government grant to live on while I study this?

    July 16, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. weihs

    "The composite fillings have always been safe, but they're safer today than they used to be!"

    July 16, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Craig Doug

    Here's a headline for you "Lack of discipline linked to kids' behavior problems."

    July 16, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. donjgen

    All I know is that amalgams have mercury in them. There is no dispute that mercury is toxic. Why the dental industry still promotes there use is beyond me. It tells me that when the dental industry speaks, don't listen. They could have long a go removed the mercury in fillings. I think it has something to do with money.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. MysteriaKiito

    Oh please. Metal fillings have nothing to do with it. Some kids just have the type of personality to act out more, some just have bad parents, some have both, and then there's the few with learning disabilities that act out due to frustration. Metal fillings don't create personality faults, bad parents, or learning disabilities.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. ben

    First question the basic assumptions you have about science, dentistry, and business.
    Second, the bottom line is money.
    Third, truth is last -this is why toxicology tests are done on the public after the products are sold to us as safe
    Fourth, none of us are perfect – tooth decay is not only caused from bacterial acids related to sugar, But MANY drugs and diseases cause tooth decay

    Fifth, Ignore all the noise, they really do not know what they are saying
    Sixth, learn to research and not trust so easily
    Seveth, Blame the food industries for all the high fructose corn syrup that is in everything

    July 16, 2012 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Leigh, VA

    Everything is bad for you. Everything! Sheesh! I agree with other posters ~ probably consume too much sugar and has nothing to do with the type filling.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. mary

    Sounds like whatever is killing the tooth enamel in the first place is the reason for the problems.
    Bad diet, some lack in the immune system ..The trouble with these studies is they tell you "such and such a thing MIGHT be causing something , or it MIGT not".. So wait around another 10+ years while we study it..
    Leaving people in limbo is the worst part.. Why don't you wait unitl there is some real answers?
    What about the stress of never knowing what to do?
    What total B.S. I get so tired of studies that come up with the same da**d. if you do and da**d if you don't kind of answer.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AmazedinFL

      Mary, while I agree that there are lots of alternative explanations, the one you're stating doesn't hold water. The reason: the article stated that the difference applies to BPA fillings vs. metal fillings. So unless kids with BPA fillings had a different cause of the dental problems than did the kids with metal fillings, that explanation makes no sense.

      July 16, 2012 at 23:00 | Report abuse |
  38. Mary

    Hmm, maybe, we can do a study on "bad/lack of parenting and it's effects on a child's teeth."

    July 16, 2012 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AmazedinFL

      Again, that still doesn't explain why kids with BPA fillings are more likely to have behavioral problems than kids with metal fillings.

      July 16, 2012 at 23:00 | Report abuse |
  39. skeptical

    Wasn't there a study recently that linked dental x-rays to brain tumors?

    July 16, 2012 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. mcboo

    Also released today in a new study – Breathing Linked with Death!

    The result of a multi-millenium long study has arrived at the startling conclusion that, in each and every human case, death was directly linked to the process of breathing. And while "scientists" have admitted there may be other factors involved they went on to stress that clearly there's "something to this whole breathing thing."

    July 16, 2012 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. ERH

    Parents cause children with problems, including tooth decay.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. ben

    It has everything to done with all the things that are put into are food, air, water, etc...

    Products are made for a function to useful and effective work. That is why some stuff never goes away.
    But products are not DESIGNED to be safe and non-toxic to us.
    You want to blame anyone, blame yourselves for ignoring chemistry and science as a student in school
    Educate yourself and Learn chemistry
    Life-long learning
    Why have Industrial and developed countries already banned these chemicals and FLUORIDE?
    You are right! Everything is bad for you. But at what levels?

    July 16, 2012 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Bill

    I hope my parents realize that when I got kicked out of English class, it wasn't my fault, it was my dentist's fault.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. imagonner

    George Bush is at it again

    July 16, 2012 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Tracy

    I believe in a "Best Use" philosophy.... Putting BPA in Cans is not necessary... Get it outta there!!! As for fillings? ARe they are healthier than the old metal/Mercury fillings?
    Dentistry is an awesome science that improves health and the length & quality of life. Any and all improvements in the field of dentistry are welcome.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. John

    That study is not even worthy of publishing and is riddled with confounds.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Ryan

    Did the study bother to check whether kids with behavior and/or mood problems have a higher incidence of tooth decay in the first place, making them more likely to need fillings?
    I'm also waiting for the vaccine kooks to talk about the mercury in the amalgam fillings contributing to autism.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. LJ

    Do kids with behavior problems also have more tooth decay and as a consequence have more fillings? That's a lot easier to believe.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. lila

    Couldn't their behavioral problems be more associated with an upper middle class upbringing? Tooth colored fillings cost more so parents generally have more money to spend since insurance doesn't cover them. Also those parents seem to be more conscience of their child's appearance. I never knew those fillings had BPA in them, I wish the public knew these things.

    July 16, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rockysfan

    Talk about running with a flawed conclusion. The study was not designed to look at composite but metal and then to include the composite is like changing the rules in the middle of the game. These types of reports is what sends people into panics. Do a study just on the composites, then look at the data. Geez, don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. What a lame study and article!

    July 16, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AmazedinFL

      From the perspective of someone who does have a background in research, you're approach is more flawed than the approach being used here. If you're looking at BPA fillings alone, as you're proposing, there's a major, major problem with that study. What you're doing then is comparing kids with BPA fillings to kids with no fillings at all. At that point you've got a very plausible alternative explanation, which is that kids who have a lot of fillings to begin with (versus those who have few or no fillings) are the ones who are likely to have behavioral problems to begin with, and are therefore likely to engage in behaviors such as not bothering to brush their teeth or eating lots of garbage. So it would be very easy to say that the behavioral problem was there to begin with, which actually led to the fillings (through not brushing teeth, eating lots of garbage, etc.) rather than the other way around. On the other hand, when you're comparing BPA fillings to metal fillings–like the current study is doing–that explanation is ruled out (because then you'd need to make the argument that kids with BPA fillings were more likely to have pre-existing behavior problems than are kids with metal fillings–which is pretty implausible). In other words, the study that you're proposing is much, much more flawed than the current one, because it introduces a very strong alternative explanation that the current study rules out.

      July 16, 2012 at 20:31 | Report abuse |
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