Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Absolute Tooth: Dental Related Disease Part 1

Many of you are concerned about the effects of mercury on your health. Below is Part 1 on the issue of amalgam related disease. Please note that only a dentist trained to safely remove amalgams should do so. You can learn more by reading:

Did you know that “Silver” fillings are 50% mercury?

Dental amalgam has been controversial ever since it was introduced, early in the nineteenth century, because of its mercury content. People of the Napoleonic era knew full well that mercury was poisonous, and the best that anyone has ever claimed about amalgam is that the mercury exposure may be too small to hurt anyone. Over time, though, a great body of evidence has accumulated showing that mercury is release from amalgam in significant quantities, that it spreads around the body, including from mother to fetus, and that the exposure causes physiological harm. This article will sketch out the main points of the scientific case against amalgam.

The toxic effects of mercury, including dementia and loss of motor control, were common knowledge in the post–Napoleonic era, and many dentists objected to the obvious disadvantage of using such a dangerous material in people’s mouths. In 1845, the American Society of Dental Surgeons asked its members to sign a pledge never to use it. The economics were compelling, though as they remain today. At a time when the only other feasible restorative material was gold, amalgam looked to be the restorative material for the masses. Then, as today, patients did not show signs of acute poisoning as they left the dentist’s office, so there did not appear to be a problem. As the use of amalgam grew, the American Society of Dental Surgeons fell apart, and in 1859, the pro–amalgam faction formed the American Dental Association, the same organization that leads the dental profession in the USA to this day, and remains steadfast in its defense of amalgam.

The argument was reopened in the late 1970’s, as modern methods of detecting the presence of trace amounts of mercury were introduced, including mass spectrophotometry and the Jerome mercury vapor detector.

There is a formidable body of evidence establishing the chain of toxic events:

1) amalgam releases significant amounts of mercury

2) the mercury distributes to tissues around the body, and is the biggest source of mercury body burden

3) the mercury from amalgam crosses the placenta and into breast milk, resulting in significant pre- and post-partum exposures for infants

4) adverse physiological changes occur from that exposure on the immune, renal, reproductive and central nervous systems, as well as the oral and intestinal flora

The current best accepted reference on absorbed dose of mercury from amalgam fillings comes from the World Health Organization proceedings of 1991. The conclusion of that group was that the average person in the industrial world with an average number of amalgam fillings, and no occupational exposure to mercury would absorb between 3 – 17 μg per day, with an average of 10 μg, from the fillings; 2.3 μg from all dietary sources; and 0.3 μg from all other environmental sources.

Does the mercury in ‘silver amalgams’ get out of the tooth to effect our body?

You must see “The Smoking Tooth” at:

A pioneer in researching the link between unexplained diseases and our dental practices is Dr. Hal Huggins. The following are diseases that Dr. Huggins has related to the presence of dental mercury and root canals:

Multiple sclerosis
Lou Gehrig's disease
High blood pressure
High cholesterol
"Female problems" (long list)

Other dental toxins that adversely effect the immune system or overall general health

Present in crowns, bridges, orthodontic braces, children's chrome crowns and some removable partial dentures.

Root canals
Anaerobic bacteria within root canal teeth produce toxins that are among the most poisonous chemicals on the planet. For this reason, they can produce disease at little more than the molecular level. Far below what can be seen on an X-ray. Just a handful of molecules can create autoimmune diseases in susceptible people.
Important to know is that the problem is the presence of these toxins in the periodontal ligament - the attachment between tooth and bone, and not in the pulp chamber. While a dentist can sterilize a column of air in the center of a tooth the tooth is dead and a healthy body will reject dead things and this can create an immune action around the dead part.

This is a bad topic, again, because both dentistry and patients have adopted them wholeheartedly. Financially rewarding and easy to sell. No one wants removable appliances in their mouth, nor the additional care it takes to wear these appliances. Anything implanted in bone will create an autoimmune response. The only difference is the amount of time it takes.

Although described by the Father of Modern Dentistry, Dr. G.V. Black in the early 1900's, and published in many dental articles (mostly outside the US), they are unknown to many dentists. Even the ADA claims they do not exist. When a tooth is removed, the periodontal ligament that attaches the tooth to bone (similar to the afterbirth around a fetus) is left in according to instructions from dental schools. The ligament often prevents bone healing of the socket area. Today, this hole is termed a "cavitation". These holes left unhealed are generally lined with necrotic (dead) bone and many of the same anaerobic bacteria that are found in dead or root canal teeth. The ones that are often related to autoimmune diseases. Porphyrins (the energy producing molecule in the blood stream) are particularly attacked by products within the cavitation, therefore offering less oxygen transport and energy molecules for healing and daily operation of the body

Maternal – fetal transfer of mercury

Babies, with their still-developing nervous systems, are known to be more sensitive to the effects of mercury exposure than adults. Pediatric authorities say: “The developing fetus and young children are thought to be disproportionately affected by mercury exposure, because many aspects of development, particularly brain maturation, can be disturbed by the presence of mercury. Minimizing mercury exposure is, therefore, essential to optimal child health." And “Mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children, and efforts should be made to reduce exposure to the extent possible to pregnant women and children as well as the general population.”

Immune System:
The “allergic hypersensitivity” to mercury issue is interesting. It is not very, very rare, as certain dental authorities would have us believe. The North American Contact Dermatitis Group, in 1972, determined that 5 - 8% of the US population demonstrates allergy to mercury by skin patch testing.

Renal System:
Mercury, we now know, concentrates in the kidneys, and experimental evidence shows that it can inhibit kidney function.

Are dentists harming themselves?
One of the statements made to support the use of amalgam has been that dentists’ health status is not different from that of the general population, despite the fact that we are exposed in our work to mercury. One must remember that they follow hygiene rules such as always using gloves, storing scrap amalgam in tightly closed containers under various liquids to prevent vapors from escaping in the office and disposing of it with licensed hazardous waste handlers. Even so, there is some evidence that mercury–exposed dentists and staff do suffer various effects.

In one study, dentists with high baseline urinary mercury levels showed neuropsychological and motor control deficits. In another, dentists and staff with high mercury levels, proven by DMPS challenge, had altered porphyrin (hemoglobin) metabolism, as well as neurobehavioral changes, including impairment of attention, motor and perceptual skills, and increased irritability.
In a survey of 7,000 female dental assistants, a subgroup of 418 women who placed over 30 amalgams per week, and had poor mercury hygiene habits, had a low fertility rate of 63%

To your health!

Don Ellsworth, M.D.