The American Heart Institute is pushing to limit the use of mercury-containing fillings, saying it could be the answer to slowing the rising tide of dementia.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of America says in a letter to the White House that the agency has been reviewing its current approach to mercury and has come to the conclusion that it should move away from using mercury-based fillings and replace them with a less toxic one.
The agency’s recommendation could mean reducing the use by as much as 75 percent of the mercury-filled dental sealants used today, according to the letter from the foundation’s director, Carol Koss.
She said the new formula would be more effective than the mercury fillings that already are used.
Mercury fillings are often used in products to help prevent tooth decay, but it’s a relatively new use in dentistry, which is still mostly a clinical area, according Toke Teng, a professor of dentistry at Johns Hopkins University.
The use of fillings with mercury has been a controversial issue for decades, even though there are few studies on the topic.
The new guidelines are expected to be released in the coming weeks.