ADA Voices Concern Over Dr. Oz Segment

It’s hard enough getting people to visit their dentist regularly and a popular television talk show isn’t making it any easier.  Earlier this week, “The Dr. Oz Show” aired a segment titled, “Are Your Silver Fillings Making You Sick,” quickly prompting a response from the American Dental Association (ADA) in the form of an Issues Alert emailed to its members.  While the show’s producer did contact the ADA for information before the segment aired, they declined the offer for an interview with a spokesperson from the Association.  Instead, producers only accepted written statements from the ADA, which were later posted on the Doctor Oz show website, according to an ADA News article.  The association also issued a press release about the situation.

In preparation for fall-out from the show, the Issues Alert email offered a link to the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs statement about the safety of dental amalgam, or the material of silver tooth fillings.  They also included several key points that dentists could share with their patients should they show concern about any ill-effects their fillings might produce.  Some of these key points included:

  • Silver-colored fillings are safe, durable, and affordable and have been used for generations.
  • Major health and scientific experts around the world agree that based on extensive scientific evidence, amalgam is safe and effective for dental patients.
  • There are several materials used to fill cavities and the decision about what material to use is based on a variety of factors, such as size and location of a cavity, insurance coverage, and cosmetic concerns.  All patients are encouraged to play an active role in making this decision.
  • The American Dental Association’s website is www.MouthHealthy.org and contains a lot of information regarding dental materials and how to take care of your oral health.

The Association also commented on the demonstration that was included in the segment showing the release of vapor from brushing teeth.  The example shown was using a synthetic mouth model with amalgam fillings.  The ADA claims that it was very misleading because it didn’t take real life conditions into account, mainly that the mouth model was in a closed, dry environment while real mouths produce saliva, greatly reducing vapor activity.  According to the article, several credible scientific studies have shown the amount of vapor released from amalgam fillings is so small that it would take approximately 300 silver fillings for even the most sensitive person to exhibit symptoms.  While “The Dr. Oz Show” is extremely popular with millions of viewers tuning in daily, the host, cardiothoracic surgeon, Mehmet Oz, M.D. has come under criticism for sensationalizing stories and inviting controversial guests to his show.  As with any news story, it is wise to check alternate sources before taking any one report as absolute fact.

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