Many of my patients come in with a myriad of health problems, dental concerns and an extensive history of dental procedures. People are not aware that problems in the mouth are responsible for many of our health problems. In fact, several holistic MD’s that spoke at a recent conference I attended refer 70- 80% of their patients to a knowledgeable, experienced, holistic dentist because they cannot substantially help their patients until the dental issues are addressed.
There are several major dental issues that have a direct effect on one’s health:
1. Silver fillings. The so-called “silver” fillings are about 50% mercury. The mercury comes off the fillings as a vapor and can penetrate one’s cells. Anything that stimulates the fillings such as brushing or chewing will substantially increase the amount of mercury vapor coming off the fillings. There is no safe level of mercury in the body. Yes, it is a small amount that comes out, but it is cumulative. The more fillings you have, the more mercury you have in your brain. Mercury also crosses the placental barrier and into the developing fetus, and accumulates in the mother’s milk. The perils of mercury go on and on. Caveat – mercury is dangerous and safe removal of mercury fillings requires knowledge in what to do before, during, and after their replacement.
2. Root canals. Root-canaled teeth are dead teeth and they give off potent toxins. If the immune system cannot quarantine the toxins, research shows that they can cause many diseases including heart disease, stroke, arthritis and much more. In fact, one study showed the DNA of pathogens typical for root canals and for periodontal infection were present in the blood clots of patients with acute myocardial infarction.
3. Hidden Dental Infections. Teeth that are dead and asymptomatic can go undetected without a thorough screening. These teeth can be even more toxic than root-canaled teeth.
4. Periodontal Disease. Today it is well documented that if you have periodontal disease, you have a higher chance of having a heart problem, stroke, pre-mature birth and more. This is why it is so important to look at a sample of your plaque under a microscope to determine if you have good or bad bugs. You may have gums that look healthy, but a bad slide indicates another type of hidden infection.
5. Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD). The temporomandibular joint is the joint in front of your ear. If the relationship of your upper jaw to your lower jaw is not correct, it can cause TMD. TMD can cause headaches, migraines, dizziness, neck and back aches, among other things. When one’s dental arches are narrow and the tongue is too large for the space, this often will lead to snoring and sleep apnea, with all its attendant health problems. An abnormal bite in children has been associated with sensory issues, ADD, poor sleep, fatigue and more.
6. Energetic Interferences. Every tooth and its surrounding structures are on an acupuncture meridian and relate to specific organs, vertebrae, and muscle groups. An unhealthy or root-canaled tooth can interfere with the energy flow along the meridian and can affect those associated organs and tissues. However, it is a two-way street and sometimes tooth pain is being caused by an organ problem. It is important to know this relationship because sometimes root canals are done unnecessarily.
7. Electrical Interferences. When dissimilar metals are placed in a salt water solution, like saliva, a current is generated. Mercury fillings and other metals in the mouth sometimes generate enough current to interfere with your meridians.
8. Sleep Apnea. Many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed. Research shows that sleep apnea is associated with many health problems such as stroke, heart disease, fatigue, high blood pressure and more. Often the underlying issue is dental, with the tongue not having enough room within the oral cavity thus causing impingement of the airway. Some of the indicators are crowded teeth, narrow dental arches, tongue-tied, TMD and a retruded chin.
9. Esthetics. If one is not happy with their smile, this can have a psychological effect on one’s self image. Low self esteem and not wanting to smile has a negative effect on one’s health.
Good oral health is so vital to good general health that I coined the term “Whole-Body Dentistry®”. It is impossible to have one without the other. A Whole-Body Dentist is like a detective figuring out the impact of dental issues on one’s health, and vice versa. A Whole-Body Dentist sees everything through a different filter, and can profoundly affect the health of their patients in a positive way. Educate yourself – don’t let your mouth get you into trouble!
Mark A. Breiner, DDS, is a pioneer and recognized authority in the field of biological and holistic dentistry. He is a health visionary with over 30 years of experience in helping patients find solutions to baffling, unresolved health problems—even those that are seemingly unrelated to dentistry. Dr. Breiner is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, a past-president and Fellow of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. He is the author of Whole-Body Dentistry®: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Impact of Dentistry on Total Health. Dr. Breiner practices dentistry in Fairfield, Connecticut. For further information visit: www.wholebodydentistry.com. 203-371-0300 ext.1.