Monday, July 16, 2012

Misleading Article

I received a junk email today that piqued my interest as the subject was "Do You Really Need That Filling?"  Hmm, I thought, as I opened the email and clicked the link.  Needless to say, I will be attempting to unsubscribe from this junk through as soon as possible!  I find the article written by Leah Zerbe on the Rodale website to be grossly misleading.  From the title of the article "Do You Really Need That Filling?" right down through the text, there are vague generalizations and weasel words running rampant! 

First of all, the title suggests it will discuss whether or not a filling is needed on a tooth, when in actuality; the article focuses primarily on the supposed 'dangers' of filling materials.

The only two parts of the article with any substance are 1) referring to a study published in the well-regarded journal Pediatrics, that suggests kids with white composite fillings "were more likely to suffer from social stress, anxiety, depression, and trouble forming relationships" than kids with silver amalgam fillings.  And 2) the quote from Jeffrey Stansbury DVM (professor of craniofacial biology at the school of Dental Medicine at the University of Colorado), who states, "There is no reason to be overly alarmed by this report. For about 20 years, there have been periodic heightened levels of concern raised regarding BPA in our diets and environment.  However, it should be noted that earlier this year, the FDA declined a petition to ban BPA-related coatings used in food packaging." 

Ta-Da!  With those two parts out of the way, that should be it to this article (after concluding with "Get a second opinion with another dentist to see if you really need that filling").  But... Nope!  Instead, it is filled with paragraphs condemning silver amalgam fillings, and advocating holistic methods of 'some dentists,' to treat dental caries (tooth decay). 

The first sentence of the article:  "We've known for some time now that silver amalgam fillings containing the neurotoxin mercury are harmful."  That's very interesting Rodale!  No doubt you have peer-reviewed scientific data to back up this claim?  Oh you don't?  Of course you don't, because it does not exist.

Near the end of the article there are more weasel words:  "Some dentists practice more holistic methods and conduct testing to see how each individual responds to the different chemicals used in dental procedures, and then uses materials that appear to be most benign to a particular individual."  Oh 'some dentists' you say.  Of course there is no follow-up to this seemingly profound, more beneficent treatment option, or the name of even one dentist who prescribes by this treatment method. 

I will conclude by saying that articles like this are dangerous, as they offer unsubstantiated/unwarranted biased advice, in order to push products, politics, or a certain way of life.  I remind my readers to consider the recommendations/guidelines of the American Dental Association, and if they are weary about treatment proposed by one dentist, to have a second opinion with another dentist!  If you do choose to read articles such as this one on Rodale, I suggest you take their "Medical Advice Notice" to heart.  Notably, the part where it says:  "The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis."

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