The Power of Gratitude

As we approach Thanksgiving, we share one of our favorite talks on gratitude by leading expert Dr. Robert Emmons of UC Davis:

All of us here at Dr. Verigin’s office wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving and festive start to the holiday season!

Posted in General health, Mental Health, Video | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Recommended Reading: Dr. James Rota’s Mirror of the Body

Reviewed by Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

Mirror of the Body represents the collected thoughts and observations of a brilliant and inquiring dentist. Dr. James Rota, a general practitioner of dentistry whose life focus has been on holistic health, courageously raises important and vital questions concerning commonly accepted medical and dental procedures which can adversely affect the health and wellness of every individual.

James Rota's book Mirror of the BodyAs a long-time biological dentist, I find this a passionate and necessary book – one to read and re-read and prominently place on your bookshelves. Rota asks difficult questions about the future of dentistry. The narrative is gripping, and the writing is marvelous. His life history and the problems associated with being first exposed to mercury as a twelve year old and later on as a practicing dentist are so movingly told, they grabbed and kept my attention throughout this remarkable book.

Through five decades, Rota has directly observed the enormous negative impact that mercury “silver” amalgam fillings and infective dental toxicity has had on the health of many of his patients. He has also found that the removal and complete healing of sites of infective dental toxicity such as IBD (Ischemic Bone Disease / chronic jaw osteitis / cavitations) and removal of the patient’s mercury amalgam fillings often result in seemingly near-miraculous improvement in many of the patients he has so treated.

At the very least, Dr. Rota has frequently viewed substantial improvements in the clinical conditions and numerous aberrations in the patient’s laboratory profiles of many patients who have had these dental obstacles removed.
The chapter called “Show Me the Science” further attempts to demonstrate that a very large amount of hard scientific data already exists to support all of the assertions made. He cites, too, the work of the great German doctors and researchers such as Reinhold Voll, Fritz Kramer, Jochen Gledistch and Ralf Turk, among others – men whose work helped provide the missing link between dentistry and medicine and inspired the approach now known as biological dentistry.

The title of the book comes from Osler’s famous quote: ”The mouth is the mirror of the body which reflects systemic disease.”

Rota, in turn, emphatically states:

The mouth is a sacred part of the body. It is a highly sensitive entrance to the body. It is where we verbalize our thoughts, where we eat our food, where we kiss and experience intimacy, and where we laugh and sing. We instinctually cover our mouths when we are afraid or surprised. We may bite to defend ourselves. We look at other people’s mouths and make judgements based on its size, color, condition and reflection of the current state of emotion. We socialize with our mouths, even from great distances. Some of us will use our mouth to chant the word “Om” to tune into the vibration of the universe. It is considered the frequency energy that connects and joins all things together.

Rota is unafraid to dig deeply and honestly both within himself and within the dental profession. He raises critical questions that twenty-first-century dentistry must answer if it is to meet the proper needs of its patients as well as of its practitioners. He peels back the veneers, so to speak, revealing the discomforting truths of modern dentistry.

There’s a maxim Drs. Voll and Kramer liked to share when they taught: “One dentist will keep two physicians busy for the rest of their practice lives because of the ills placed upon them by uninformed dentists.” Mirror of the Body does more than just show how this is so; it shows how things can be otherwise.

Buy your copy of Mirror of the Body now!

Posted in Biological Dentistry, Recommended reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Modern Diet, a “Failed Experiment”

Posted in Dental health, Food, General health, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pharma, FDA & “Institutional Corruption”

money pillsThe FDA was founded to protect consumers from bogus medicines and other problem food and drug products. To this day, it defines it’s core mission as one of defending “public health.”

But what if the proverbial fox is left to guard the proverbial henhouse?

The tenure of departing FDA Margaret Hamburg was marked by conflict of interest, particularly with respect to dental mercury amalgam. Her nominated replacement? Oh, just someone reported to be “the ultimate industry insider”: Dr. Robert M. Califf.

He has written scientific papers with pharmaceutical company researchers, and his financial disclosure form last year listed seven drug companies and a device maker that paid him for consulting and six others that partly supported his university salary, including Merck, Novartis and Eli Lilly. A conflict-of-interest section at the end of an article he wrote in the European Heart Journal last year declared financial support from more than 20 companies.

He also has a history of working with pharmaceutical and medical device companies through a company called Faculty Connection.

A promotional video posted by Faculty Connection displays images of Califf and boasts that the firm has “served over 175 different pharma, biotech medical device firms.” The video says the firm helps “faculty who want to work with industry” negotiate with health care industry sponsors, along with providing liability protection and record-keeping services.

Naturally, his close financial ties to Big Pharma are being downplayed by administration officials, even as his ability to impartially promote the stated public health mission of the FDA is questioned loudly and more often.

Recently, we came across a powerful and fascinating read on “institutional corruption” in the realm of Big Pharma, published a couple years ago in the Journal of Law, medicine and Ethics. In light of the Califf controversy, it seems more relevant than ever.

An excerpt:

Just as a proper electoral democracy is devoted to the public good, health care systems are founded on the moral principles of benefcence, nonmaleficence (“first, do no harm”), respect for autonomy, and the just distribution of scarce resources. Based on these principles, health care workers are obliged to use the best medical science to relieve suffering and pain, treat illness, and address risks to health. The institutional corruption of health care consists of deviations from these principles.

The major patent-based research pharmaceutical companies also nominally commit themselves to improving health and relieving suffering. For example, Merck promises “to provide innovative, distinctive products that save and improve lives…and to provide investors with a superior rate of return.” Pfizer is dedicated “to applying science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life.” Pharmaceutical companies continuously emphasize how deeply society depends on their development of innovative products to improve health. But in fact, these companies are mostly developing drugs that are mostly little better than existing products but have the potential to cause widespread adverse reactions even when appropriately prescribed. This deviation from the principles of health care by institutions allegedly dedicated to health care is institutional corruption. We present evidence that industry has a hidden business model to maximize profits on scores of drugs with clinically minor additional benefits. Physician commitment to better health is compromised as the industry spends billions to create what Lessig calls a “gift economy” of interdependent reciprocation. New research finds that truly innovative new drugs sell themselves in the absence of such gift-economy marketing.

Regulators such as the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency arise when unregulated competition is perceived to cause serious harm to society and government regulation is needed to address the problem. The FDA was founded to protect the public’s health from the fraudulent cures peddled in the 19th century. Through a series of legislative enactments, often in response to a drug disaster, the pharmaceuti-cal regulatory side of the FDA has acquired ever-wider responsibilities to ensure that new drugs do more good than harm. Institutional corruption consists of distortions of these responsibilities, such as approving drugs that are mostly little better than existing medications, failing to ensure sufcient testing for serious risks, and inadequately guarding the public from harmful side effects. These distortions serve commercial interests well and public health poorly.

Read the whole thing.

Image by Lisa Yarost, via Flickr

Posted in Drugs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

KTH Flashback: BPA in Dentistry: Safety & Risks

Originally posted January 20, 2015

Anymore, the terms “BPA” and “avoid” go hand in hand. Unfortunately, BPA and related compounds turn up in a lot of dental composite – the type of material used to make tooth-colored fillings and a major alternative to mercury amalgam. (Porcelain and other ceramics are other options.) A conscientious biological dentist will make every effort to avoid such materials. Compatibility testing can rule them out.

But what if you already have composites? Should you be worried about possible exposure? Should you get those fillings removed?

Biological dentist Dr. Bill Glaros’ answer to such questions is good and concise:

First, know that when BPA is present in a composite resin, the amount released is very small – though like so many environmental toxins, it is bioaccumulative and may add to your total body burden. Still, if the dental work involved isn’t causing any immediate health problems that either you experience or are detected through EAV or other testing techniques, removing the composite is apt to do more harm than good. The trauma each tooth would undergo through the removal process would do more harm than any benefit of lower BPA exposure would give.

Eventually, they will need to be replaced due to age and wear (which can be as long as 10 or even 20 years for some materials). That’s when to make sure they’re replaced with a BPA-free, biocompatible material.

Recently, we came across this presentation by dental materials expert Jess Clifford – an excellent and accessible talk on the safety profile of BPA in dental materials. For an accurate look at what BPA is, its role in dentistry and its potential impact on health, we think it’s a clip well worth your time:

For yet more information, see the IAOMT’s summary on BPA in dental composites.


Posted in Dentistry, Restorative dentistry, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fluoride as Distraction

sodium fluoride tabletsSome things don’t need a click-baity title to make you sit up and pay attention – such as an argument against fluoride from what appears to be an overall pro-fluoride position.

We’ve seen it at least once before, but another recently came on our radar via the Sydney Morning Herald.

As a treatment for tooth decay fluoride is effective, there’s no denying it. But while arguing how and whether it should be used, we’ve forgotten that fluoride is a reactive intervention to the rampant presence of tooth decay in modern society.

Even with the application of water fluoridation in Australia for over half a century, tooth decay is still considered by the Australian Dental Association as one of the country’s most prevalent diseases. The problem is that fluoride fails to address the core reason of why tooth decay occurs: our diet.

Specifically, that means refined sugar and other simple, processed carbohydrates. Once eaten sparingly, such carbs have come to dominate the Western industrial diet.

Dental decay has only existed in its contemporary form for about 200 years, or since the turn of the industrial revolution. This is when you can pinpoint the introduction of large-scale delivery of refined grains into our diet. It’s also where our diets transformed from consumption of local produce to the global business that food is today.

Before this, archeological records show that humans lived for thousands of years without the significant presence of any dental disease. In the animal kingdom tooth decay is equally rare. The unsettling reality is that tooth decay is a disease of human civilisation….

As the author notes, obsessing over fluoride or other non-dietary intervention is necessarily reactive, an after-the-effect attempt to mitigate the damage caused by poor or thoughtless dietary choices. And as a paper in PLOS Medicine showed earlier this year, that’s just how the sugar biz wanted it.

The sugar industry could not deny the role of sucrose in dental caries given the scientific evidence. They therefore adopted a strategy to deflect attention to public health interventions that would reduce the harms of sugar consumption rather than restricting intake… Seventy-eight percent of the sugar industry submission was incorporated into the NIDR’s [National Institute of Dental Research’s] call for research applications. Research that could have been harmful to sugar industry interests was omitted from priorities identified at the launch of the NCP [National Caries Program].

It was simply declared “unrealistic” to go after the primary cause of caries. So the emphasis went to interventions such as fluoride and sealants – as if these were the only weapons available to combat decay. Touting fluoride became a real distraction from the more critical task of lowering sugar intake.

Happily, more voices are sounding out in the mainstream, urging the dental profession to finally zero in on the number one risk factor – some would even argue the only real risk factor – for caries. As recently reported by Dr. Bicuspid, a paper in the October issue of the Journal of Dentistry, in fact, makes this very point.

“…it is clear that sugars start the process and set off a causal chain; the only crucial factor that determines the caries process in practice is sugars,” the authors wrote. “Thus, to stress the multifactorial effects on the sugars-induced causal process muddies our understanding and misdirects policy.”

To back up their claim, they drew evidence from research, including a study on people with a hereditary fructose intolerance, population studies before and after average sugars intake spiked, and systematic reviews. Such evidence showed that despite interventions, caries steadily progresses with age, its effects are lifelong, and there is a causal relationship between free sugars and dental caries.

“So why call caries an infectious transmissible disease when the presence of these microorganisms in the mouth is ubiquitous,” he asked, “and it is only the addition of sugars that then stimulates their proliferation and adhesive qualities and allows them to produce the acids required for dental caries?”

“Because it’s easier to fall back on fluoride and sealants?” That would seem to be the most honest answer for many. But as ever-high rates of dental disease continue to tell, it’s clearly far from the right one.

Posted in Dental health, Fluoride | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defeating the Purpose of a Dental “Bargain”

Oh, the news that turns up when you have Google Alerts set up for “root canals”:

Herald Sun headline

As if smoking were the worst of it.

Broadmeadows Magistrate Court heard Muhammad Velipasaoglu smoked, spoke on the phone, didn’t wear a face mask or gloves and had unwashed hands while performing nine consecutive root canals on a young woman.

* * *

In the horrific case, the woman was asked to hold the suction herself during root canal surgery and gave evidence Mr Velipasaoglu “dropped several of his tools, picked them up and continued performing the procedures with the dropped instruments”.

And that’s only counting the obvious opportunities for infection. There are 9 more with those root canal teeth. (What You Need to Know About Root Canals)

The Herald Sun reports that “the woman paid $1500 in cash for the treatment” – and that she’s “still receiving corrective and restorative dental work.”

Kind of defeats the purpose of getting a bargain.

Yes, dental work can be expensive. But undoing any damage can cost a lot more in the long run.

As always, your best option is to prevent problems before they arise – or, barring that, seeking appropriate treatment as early as possible, when problems are generally easier and cheaper to solve. And by keeping up your dental health, you may also be saving money, long-term, on medical costs, as well.

This point is pounded home by a recent study in Geriatrics and Gerontology, which compared medical expenditures among Japanese 80 year olds with varying degrees of periodontal health. Those who had the most severe gum disease had significantly higher medical expenses than those with the healthiest gums.

This builds on earlier research such as last year’s study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Its authors analyzed insurance claims data from 338,891 people who had both dental and medical insurance, showed signs of periodontal disease and had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis or pregnancy – all conditions strongly associated with gum disease. Crunching the numbers, they found that, excepting those with RA, those who were treated for gum disease had both fewer hospitalizations and lower medical expenditures for their systemic condition.

If you’re serious about saving money on health care, your best strategy remains pro-active prevention.

See also: The Cost of Dental Work – and the Cost of Avoiding It

Posted in Dentistry, Root canals | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment