Question: Can dental fillings cause depression (mercury poisoning)?
Answer: The link between mercury fillings in the teeth and depression is still very controversial. It depends on who you ask. If you go to the websites for the FDA or the EPA -- the Environmental Protection Agency -- I think what you see are that high levels of mercury can definitely be toxic and poisonous to the brain, especially the brain of the developing fetus -- so a pregnant woman or very young children. But regular mercury fillings -- the links between the vapor released from everyday dental fillings and depression are not as well established. Clearly I think there are many people who have amalgam fillings, who feel they're sensitive and feel that they have suffered certain health consequences, and in those individuals depression is often a very frequent complaint.
In one study nearly about 30 percent of people with mercury fillings-related complaints were found to have irritability and mood symptoms. So clearly I think in those individuals it's important to get a good history and sometimes replacing those fillings with non-mercury type of fillings or treating the depression otherwise can be very helpful. But I think the decision has to be made on a case-by-case basis.
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