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Dental fillings

Some people have claimed that the mercury in dental fillings can cause MS or make it worse. There hasn’t been a lot of research into this. And the research there has been doesn't give us definite answers. 

Dental fillings are often made from mercury and other metals. These are known as amalgam fillings.

Removing amalgam fillings could expose you to mercury vapour, and might weaken the tooth.

If you do have fillings removed, for whatever reason, ask the dentist to explain about any costs and risks. They can also explain how they’ll carry out the procedure (for example, using a rubber dam and suction to minimise exposure to mercury).

Dentists should also be happy to talk about alternatives to amalgam for any new fillings you need – though these might be more expensive and might not be available on the NHS. Find out more about amalgam fillings from the Oral Health Foundation.

Government advice about dental fillings

Government advice about dental fillings varies around the world. 

In the UK, all 4 governments introduced European Union restrictions on dental fillings, and these rules are still in place.  

The European Union regulations, from 2018, say that amalgam fillings should usually be avoided for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding and for children under 15. The British Dental Association says that these restrictions seem to be based on a cautious approach, and they don’t reflect evidence of specific health concerns.

The USA drug regulator, the FDA, reviewed their advice in 2020. They haven’t found evidence that amalgam fillings are dangerous, and they don’t recommend removing fillings that are in good condition. But they say that some people should be offered non-mercury fillings where possible. That list includes people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with ‘pre-existing neurological disease’.