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Is Mouth Guard a Health Menace?

Q. Can a dental night guard contain BPA? Instead of getting a new dental night guard after three months or so, I continue to use it until it doesn’t work. Sometimes they last a few years. I haven’t noticed any problems, but I’m concerned about hidden harm.

A. BPA (bisphenol A) is an estrogen-like chemical that has been used in a variety of hard plastic products. The FDA recently ruled that children’s drinking cups and baby bottles can no longer contain BPA because of concerns about the potential for hormone disruption.

Dental night guards are designed to protect teeth from grinding during sleep (bruxism). They are often made of hard clear plastic, but it is not easy to determine if they contain BPA. Although dental associations reassure patients that there is no reason to worry about BPA exposure from dental materials, you could ask your dentist to acquire BPA-free night guards. Otherwise, replace your mouth guard more frequently, since BPA is released more readily from plastic that has undergone wear.

If you would like to learn more about the health effects of BPA, here are some recent news stories you might be interested in:

New BPA Discovery is Scary!
BPA No Longer Permitted in Baby Bottles
BPA May Affect Behavior
BPA Affects Multiple Generations
Does BPA Exposure Raise Risk of Breast Cancer?
BPA In Your Soup!

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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