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Does Drinking or Smoking Put Dental Fillings at Risk?
Two dental universities put alcohol & tobacco to the test

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in the US and the University of Pernambuco School of Dentistry in Brazil, and published in the journal Frontiers of Medicine found that those who drink alcoholic beverages, or men who smoke are more likely to experience a failed dental/cavity filling.

More specifically, fillings that were placed within two years failed more frequently in patients who drank alcohol and the overall filling failure rate was increased in men with a smoking habit. Another interesting and important finding: a variation in the gene for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) enzyme present in the teeth also had a link to increased filling failure.

Filling failures explained

So we know what can increase the risk of filling failure… but what exactly causes fillings to fail?

Well, fillings can fail for a number of reasons – including tooth decay that forms surrounding the filling (known as “secondary caries”), detachment/ cracks or fractures, or they can simply just wear down over time to the point where it is no longer sufficient. This is why it’s important to visit the dentist twice a year to check up on fillings and ensure they’re doing their job/ are in good shape!

While no difference in filling failure rates were discovered between the two types of filling materials studied (amalgam and composite resin), it’s still important to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing between materials for your dental filling.

Amalgam has been used for years and years to fill cavities, but may be best for larger areas that aren’t as visible – whereas composite resin, which has been made more durable over the years, can be used today in both molars and front teeth without being noticeable to others.

The best way to take care of your fillings…

Is to simply take care of your smile! :)