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In the past several years, there has been some controversy in dental health circles about the use of amalgam tooth fillings, which contain a high proportion of mercury.
However, a study conducted earlier this year - appearing in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association - concluded that dental amalgams can be a safe part of children's dental care.
The international researchers determined that amalgams do not negatively affect children's neurological development.
To reach their conclusions, the scientists followed the progress of more than 500 Portuguese children who received either amalgam or resin-based composite fillings.
They assessed the children's brain functioning over the course of seven years, finding that key indicators within the two groups did not differ in a significant way.
"Even at the levels of amalgam exposure in this study [we] conclude that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam does not adversely affect neurological status," the team wrote.
More than 100 million Americans have dental amalgams in their mouths, according to the American Dental Association.
© 2008 Brafton Inc.
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