- Thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease, including Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart disease and diabetes
- To optimize your oral microbiome, stop using antibacterial mouth rinses. Also avoid fluoride-containing toothpaste and fluoridated water
- Mercury is another dental-related substance that can wreak havoc with your health.
- About 50 percent of the amalgam filling is mercury, a neurotoxin and persistent environmental toxin
By Dr. Mercola
While often overlooked, your dental health can have a significant impact on your overall health. It’s difficult to achieve high-level physical health if your oral health is ignored. Dr.Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, has over 30 years’ experience in biological dentistry. As Curatola notes, your mouth is your “gateway to total body wellness.” Indeed, thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease.
Inflammation is known to be a disease-causing force leading to most chronic illness, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation that can have a deleterious effect on every major organ system in your body.
Oral disease can therefore contribute to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few. Advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times. And, according to Curatola, if you get a heart attack related to gum disease, 9 times out of 10 it will be fatal.
There’s also a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, courtesy of the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth.
Caring for Your Oral Microbiome
When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system it causes your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system. So a major part of oral health is attending to your oral microbiome.
Achieving oral health is really about promoting balance among the bacteria in your mouth. Interestingly, probiotics do not work in the oral cavity, so it’s not as simple as adding beneficial bacteria to your mouth. Instead, as an initial step, you need to cease killing microbes in your mouth. Curatola explains:
“Pathogens are now being recognized as resident microbes that are out of balance … [T]he same bacteria that keep us alive can have a pathogenic expression when disturbed.
I have been tooting the horn about getting out of the ‘pesticide business.’ I’m also speaking about natural pesticides. Not just triclosan, clorhexidin and those synthetic types, but also tea tree oil, tulsi oil, oregano oil and other antimicrobial oils that … have a potent disturbing effect on the oral microbiome.
In the mouth, you don’t want to have a ‘scorched earth policy,’ nuking all bacteria and hoping the good bugs come back … [G]ood bugs basically have a harder chance of setting up a healthy-balanced microbiome when you disturb them, denature them, or dehydrate them with alcohol-based products.”
Avoid Mouthwashes and Fluoridated Toothpaste
So, as your first step, stop using antibacterial mouthwashes and rinses. Instead, consider taking nutrients that support gum and oral health. Two important ones are vitamin C and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Bleeding gums is often a sign of CoQ10 deficiency.
There are also a number of homeopathic tissue salts that can be beneficial for oral health, including silica, calcarea fluorica (calcium fluoride), calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate.
Calcium fluoride should not be confused with the chemical formulation of sodium fluoride found in toothpaste, which is toxic and carries a poison warning. Fluoride not only harms your microbiome; it also has many other detrimental health effects. In fact, fluoride over-exposure from toothpaste, fluoridated water and other sources, has led to a virtual epidemic of fluoride damage. At present, 4 out of 10 adolescents in the U.S. have fluoride-damaged teeth — a condition known as dental fluorosis.
Many assume that use of fluoridated toothpaste and water is an issue that relates to your dental health alone. But according to a 500-page scientific review,1 fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.
At least 34 human studies and 100 animal studies have also linked fluoride to brain damage,2 including lower IQ in children, and studies have shown that fluoride toxicity can lead to a wide variety of health problem.
The Dangers of Mercury Amalgam
Aside from fluoride and antibacterial agents, mercury is another dental-related substance that can wreak havoc with your health. In the video above, Dr. Oz interviews Curatola about the dangers of “silver fillings” which, despite their name, contain mostly mercury, a well-known neurotoxin and dangerous environmental pollutant. About 50 percent of the amalgam filling is mercury; the remainder is a mixture of copper, tin, silver and zinc.
Mercury amalgam is defended by its apologists for the bizarre reason that it has been used in dentistry for over 150 years. Being a pre-Civil War remedy is not something to brag about! Medicine long ago stopped other pre-Civil War harmful practices, such as bleeding patients and giving them a bottle of mercury to drink.
Amalgams have been linked to a long list of health problems, including fatigue, memory loss, tremors, problems with motor coordination, inability to concentrate, migraines, mood swings, anxiety and autoimmune problems.
Norway, Denmark and Sweden have all banned mercury amalgam, citing health and environmental hazards. So why is amalgam still being used by half of all dentists in the U.S.? The answer is: because it’s inexpensive and easy to use, which boosts the profits of dentists’ who can make more per chair per day using mercury fillings.
Is Your Insurance Company Still Operating in the Dark Ages?
Many dental insurance companies also do not cover 100 percent of non-amalgam restoration work, which keeps the allure of amalgam alive. For example, some insurance policies only pay for amalgam in molar teeth; if you want composite, you have to pay out-of-pocket. A consumer penalty exist for those who exercise their right to have mercury-free fillings in their molars.
This is really unacceptable, considering the massive costs of amalgam, including (1) to human health, (2) to the environment, (3) to our food supply and the added mercury, (4) to dental workers breathing the mercury-laden air and (5) to consumers who incur future dental bills from amalgam’s destructive nature, in contrast to the minimally-invasive and tooth-friendly alternatives.
Also, while amalgam is very strong, capable of withstanding decades’ worth of wear and tear in your mouth, it actually makes your tooth weaker. A greater amount of healthy tooth material must be drilled out in order to place amalgam, compared to when using modern composite materials. Amalgam-filled teeth are therefore weaker and more prone to cracking, which necessitates additional restoration work. Composite materials tend to have the opposite effect, helping to maintain and even strengthen tooth integrity.
Take Action — Make Mercury-Free Dentistry a Reality for All
During Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, August 21 through 28, I will match your donations dollar-for-dollar to Consumers for Dental Choice, up to $100,000. Consumers for Dental Choice is a small, effective organization with the sole mission of making mercury-free dentistry a reality in North America and around the world, and they’ve been working to protect your right to choose mercury-free dentistry for the past 20 years.