Do Mercury Dental Fillings in Pregnant Women Impact Their Baby’s Health?
For women who are pregnant (or thinking about getting pregnant), the FDA recently made important recommendations to avoid dental repair that uses amalgams made with mercury.
This is important, but not surprising, news. Mercury is a toxin that can do harm at any level of exposure. Like lead and other neurotoxic chemicals, mercury can do the most damage to babies’ developing brain and nervous system both before and after birth.
Activists have urged the FDA to review the public’s concerns and emerging science about mercury vapors from “silver” fillings for two decades. The data that shows that most people with the silver-colored cavity fillings don’t report any health effects covered up the very real harms that some people experienced and reported.
The FDA spent far too long discounting the impact that mercury could be having on sensitive adults as well as on generations of babies. But “better late than never” is still worth something.
The FDA announcement is a recommendation, not a rule. Dentists can still use mercury-based products to fill cavities. So, it’s important for all of us to spread the word that the FDA is advising these groups to use safer alternatives to dental amalgam if you need a cavity filled:
- Women who are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant
- Nursing mothers
- Children, especially those under 6
- People who are more sensitive to mercury or other components of dental amalgam
- People with neurological impairment or kidney disfunction
Those are the FDA’s recommendations, but given that 45% of pregnancies are unintended, there are many women who may not be planning on a pregnancy when choosing a dental filling. In the same vein, you may not know that you are sensitive to mercury until you experience the symptoms of that sensitivity.
The good news is that there are safer, affordable ways to fill a cavity. Thankfully, this is a problem that has a safer alternative solution. So spread the word!