Exploring the Link between Detoxification & Oral Health

According to a 2022 survey by the CareQuest Institute, 96% of American adults “know that there is a connection between the health of the mouth and the rest of the body.” That’s impressive.

Certainly, much more attention is being paid these days to this relationship. As the author of a 2017 paper in the Dental Historian noted,

  • Between 1947 and 1989, 82 papers were published, addressing possible links between oral and systemic disease. Since 1989, however, there have been more than 1,200 such publications. These indicate that there are associations between oral disease and conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis and infant low birth weight. Whilst these links are not established as causal, the relationship between the mouth and the rest of the human body is being made yet again but this time on a scientific basis, showing that the dental profession does have a role to play in the health of the patient as a whole.

Yet this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the link between oral and whole body health.

A New Respect for Focal Infection Theory
The concept at work here is an idea known as Focal Infection Theory. Biological dentist Dr. Michael Rehme sums it up nicely:

  • Focal infection theory (FIT) is the idea that a local infection affecting a small area of the body can lead to subsequent infections or symptoms in other parts of the body due either to the spread of the infectious agent itself or toxins produced from it. This theory became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in the field of oral medicine; then consensus in the dental community changed.

Indeed, the idea fell out of favor and even into ridicule through much of the late 20th century, only to be reconsidered as the relationship between gum disease and other inflammatory conditions started to come into focus. In fact, the title of that Dental Historian article above was “Focal Infection Revisited – The Swinging of the Pendulum.”

Still, some instances of focal infection are less recognized than others. These are foci that often involve the effects of previous dental work, which generate toxicities that can spread throughout the body, generating illness. (Biological dentists call the local site of the infection a “focus.” “Foci” is the plural term.)

Three of these are especially common, and it’s to these that we now turn our attention.

Mercury Toxicity from “Silver” Amalgam Fillings
By far, the most common procedure that can impact whole body health is the placement of “silver” amalgam fillings. Despite their name, this metal blend is actually 50% mercury. Mercury is one of the most toxic natural elements on the planet, especially harmful to the brain, and most dangerous when inhaled.

The mercury does not stay locked into amalgam fillings, however. With every bite and swallow, some mercury is released and some of that mercury is breathed into the lungs. From there, the metal can enter the bloodstream and be carried throughout the body,  where it can accumulate – just like mercury accumulates in fish.

Health problems linked to mercury toxicity include neurological, cardiovascular, and autoimmune conditions, among others.

Lingering Infection in Root Canal Teeth
Root canaled teeth can become foci when harmful bacteria remain in the tooth after it’s been sealed off. This isn’t uncommon. For one, root systems can be very complex, with small offshoots that may not get fully disinfected. More, the standard procedure can’t clean the three miles of microscopic tubule that make up the layer of dentin (a porous tissue between the enamel and pulp chamber).

Because the tooth is filled and sealed off, any remaining bacteria are free to proliferate, generating a great deal of highly toxic metabolic waste in the process. Pathogens and waste do have an escape route, though, since the tooth is still connected to the bloodstream at the tip of the roots. Any toxins are free to move throughout the body.

In the meantime, you have a dead organ still present in the mouth, since root canal treatment removes all of the tissue that had once kept it alive. This creates a blockage on the meridian, which can lead to further disturbances in any other organs that share the same energetic pathway.

Infected root canal teeth have been linked with a range of autoimmune disorders and cancers, among other health illnesses.

Hidden Infections: Cavitations
More formally known as jawbone osteonecrosis (literally, “dead bone”), a cavitation is an area of dead and decaying tissue that’s commonly covered by healthy looking gums. The sites can be evident, though, in 3D cone beam scans (CBCT imaging). The most common cause is improper cleaning and disinfection of sockets after tooth extraction.

In fact, research by Drs. Hal Huggins and Thomas Levy found that cavitations developed at 75% of all extraction sites (and 88% of wisdom tooth sites).

As with root canal teeth, pathogens from the site are free to proliferate and generate highly toxic metabolic waste that the blood can carry throughout the body. The impacts on whole body health can also be varied. Some may experience no obvious symptoms at all, while clinical reports suggest they may contribute to autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular issues, and more.

What to Do If You Suspect Your Mouth May Be Undermining Your Total Health
In cases like these, the first thing to do is to contact us – or, if you live far from our Milburn, New Jersey office, a certified biological dentist – for a thorough examination, to determine if and how dental conditions may be causing problems for your overall health.

If they are, the first step is to remove the source of the toxins. Mercury fillings can be safely removed and replaced with biocompatible restorations. Root canal teeth can be properly extracted and replaced with zirconia implants or removable partials. Cavitations can be surgically cleaned and disinfected so proper healing can occur.

Equally important is to go through a doctor-guided detox program to support your body’s ability to clear the toxins it’s been harboring – in some cases, for many years. Specific detox protocols will depend on your specific needs, but they can include things like chelation therapy, nutrition therapy, IV infusions, homeopathic therapy, and more.

It’s never enough just to remove the foci. For lasting healing, the toxins must be removed, too.