Younger woman visiting the dentist related to Tooth fillings and MS

FDA advises people with MS to avoid amalgam mercury tooth fillings

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has released new recommendations that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) avoid getting dental amalgams, which are fillings that are 50% mercury and sometimes known as silver fillings.

There have been suggestions of a link between the use of amalgam fillings and MS because there are some similarities between the symptoms of the condition and the effects of mercury poisoning, particularly tremor and weakness. Some people worried that mercury leakage from the fillings might cause or worsen MS.

An extensive investigation by the European Commission in 2015 found there wasn’t substantial evidence to link the fillings with MS.

As well as people with MS, the FDA now recommends that dentists use mercury-free alternatives for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those planning a pregnancy, those with poor kidney function, people allergic to mercury or dental amalgam’s other ingredients. Mercury-free alternatives include composite or glass ionomer cement fillings.

The FDA didn’t go as far as to suggest people with amalgam fillings should have them replaced. It advised against removal if the fillings are in good condition, unless it was clinically necessary.

“The FDA has found that certain groups may be at greater risk for potential harmful health effects of mercury vapour released from the device,” it stated in the guidance. “As a result, the agency is recommending certain high-risk groups avoid getting dental amalgam whenever possible and appropriate.”

In Europe, amalgam fillings have been banned for use in pregnant and breastfeeding and children under 15 since 01 July 2018, and the European Commission is looking to develop legislation to stop most amalgam use by 2030.