“Silver” amalgam fillings consistently release mercury vapor, and the amount released varies depending on what sorts of stresses the teeth are under. For instance, more is released when the fillings are under the pressure of chewing, tooth grinding or even regular tooth brushing. But what about when exposed to hydrogen peroxide, which is commonly used in tooth bleaching? A paper out of the University of Manchester, published in the Journal of Dental Research, sheds light on the matter.
For the study, amalgam discs were fitted into plastic molds to simulate filled teeth, and groups were exposed to different concentrations of peroxide for different time periods. The study showed “significant increases in mercury release between control and all other hydrogen peroxide concentrations at all exposure times (p < 0.05).” In other words, the presence of hydrogen peroxide – both at concentrations lower (0, 3.6 and 6%) and higher (30%) than commonly found in both home and clinical bleaching kits – increased the amount of mercury vapor being released from the amalgam.
We say that if you have mercury fillings, a hyper-white smile is definitely NOT worth the extra exposure to this potent neurotoxin.