The BPA in plastic containers, water bottles, baby bottles, sippy cups and even toys you could be causing irreversible damage to your child’s teeth.
Bisphenol A (BPA), a compound manufacturers use to strengthen plastic, is known as an endocrine disruptor that can interfere with hormones causing numerous complications that can lead to cancer, early puberty, and problems with women’s egg cells.
Studies have also shown that BPA can have alarming ill-effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Now, recent research has shown that it can weaken and alter children’s teeth causing molar incisor hypermineralisation (MIH).
MIH causes permanent first molars and incisors to grow with sensitive spots that become painful and prone to cavities. These spots are found on the tooth’s enamel, which when damaged can no longer repair itself. MIH affects 18 percent of children between 6 to 9 years old.
Previous studies have speculated that MIH may be caused by exposure to BPA, and results of this study supports that claim.
The study, conducted by researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, involved giving rats daily doses of BPA or BPA with vinclozolin, another endocrine disruptor. The amount given was equivalent to what an average human may be exposed to on a daily basis.
Researchers then examined the rats’ teeth and found traces of MIH, supporting the previous assumption. Results of their experiments also showed that the endocrine disruptors caused the weakening of the rats’ teeth.
“Tooth enamel starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and ends at the age of 5, so minimising exposure to endocrine disruptors at this stage in life as a precautionary measure would be one way of reducing the risk of enamel weakening,” said Dr Katia Jedeon, lead author of the study.
The study was presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology.
Parents, you might want to double check your containers if they’re BPA-free. According to Mayo Clinic, plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 are most likely made with BPA. Avoid heating up plastic containers and cans as well as the heat can release BPA allowing the chemicals to seep into whatever is in the container.
Some prefer to completely do without plastic as bisphenol B (BPS), the chemical manufacturers switched BPA for so that they could label their product “BPA-free”, has been found to have the same ill-effects as BPA. Opt for containers made from glass, stainless steel or porcelain instead.