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Dental Fillings and Dementia


Updated: March 1, 2006

Do Silver Fillings Cause Dementia?

Why the Concern about Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings, the common silver variety, are made up of an amalgam of silver, tin and mercury. Roughly 50% of the filling is mercury and this is where the focus of attention lies.

Mercury is toxic and the two routes known to be most hazardous in humans are direct contact with the skin and breathing in mercury vapors. During dental procedures a small amount of mercury vapor is released during the installation or removal of silver fillings. In laboratory conditions mercury has been shown to affect nerve cells and some of the biochemical processes involved in Alzheimer's disease.

What Experts say about Fillings and Dementia
A number of studies have been conducted to try and establish whether there is any significant relationship between silver fillings and dementia. Some highly sensitive techniques have been employed in carefully controlled studies*. No evidence exists to show any connection between mercury-based fillings and Alzheimer's or other neurological diseases. The FDA, U.S. Public Health Service and the World Health Organisation continue to support the use of amalgam for dental treatments.


Sources: Saxe, S.R. et al (1999) Alzheimer's Disease, Dental Amalgam, and Mercury.Journal of the American Dental Association. Feb. 130(2): 191-199.

Clarkson, T.W. (2003) The Toxicology of Mercury: Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations. New England Journal of Medicine 30, 1791-1737.

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