Recommended Reading: The Implant Biz, the Modern Jaw

The Danger Within Us

One of the things we love about our patients is that they tend to be devoted to learning as much as they can about mouth-body health and how to achieve their desired level of wellness. They read. A lot. And it shows.

The Danger Within Us book coverIf you’re one of them – or like them – then you may want to check out a couple recent books that came to our attention.

The first is The Danger Within Us by award-winning medical journalist Jeanne Lenzer. In it, she explores how patients are often guinea pigs for the highly profitable world of medical implants.

“Most of us assume,” she writes early on

that if a medical device is on the market, there must be evidence that the FDA has vetted it as safe and effective. In fact, for most devices, this is not the case. While there has been a good deal of criticism about the FDA’s failure to protect the public from drugs that are unsafe or ineffective, drug manufacturers are at least supposed to prove the value of their products in one and generally two clinical trials. What the public and many doctors don’t realize is that the same is not true for even the highest-risk implanted devices.

According to one study she mentions, more than 80% of the devices that caused the most harm “were cleared or approved through pathways that didn’t require clinical testing by the FDA.”

So sadly, stories of the terrible consequences of this come as little surprise. In dentistry, we see it when dental implants – titanium and ceramic alike – appear to be the final burden a body can take before chronic, systemic health problems result. You also see it when implants are placed without thoroughly addressing the periodontal issues that led to tooth loss, resulting in peri-implantitis – a growing problem that even implant specialists have described as like “sitting on a time bomb.”

Yet because dental implants seem to pose no immediate risk while providing fine cosmetic results, many continue to treat them nonchalantly. No doubt you’ve seen ads for “new teeth in just one day” or maybe even breezy gimmick videos such as this:

But this is exactly what you might expect when you wind up with a “health care” system that’s driven by profits – a state of affairs which Lenzer concisely chronicles in her book, as well.

To learn more about The Danger Within Us, check out this podcast from NPR.

Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic

The other book we’d like to call your attention to also ventures into the realm of unintended consequences. Here, it’s how certain lifestyle changes – softer diets, the move away from breastfeeding, more time spent indoors – have hindered jaw development.

Smaller jaws mean narrower arches, crowded teeth, and expensive orthodontics down the road. It also means a smaller airway and a higher risk of systemic health problems such as sleep apnea, cardiovascular issues, and much more.

Jaws book coverIn Jaws, dentist Sandra Kahn and noted biological Paul Ehrlich suggest that perhaps the biggest factor in the incredible shrinking modern jaw is that modern diets require us to chew so much less than those of our distant ancestors. But while they draw on the work of Weston Price here, the authors seem to downplay the nutritional aspects of his findings. The degree of chew, they suggest, matters far more than the composition of what’s being chewed.

Yet in the soft, modern diet, that tends to include a lot of refined, hyper-processed carbohydrates and sugars. Not only are these problems for the teeth in and of themselves, but they tend to displace the minerals, fats, and other nutrients needed to develop full jaws and healthy dentition.

Like most all problem-focused books these days, this one offers solutions. Here, they’re centered on orthotropics, which the authors rebrand as “forwardontics.” And indeed, reshaping the airway makes far more sense than simply trying to correct with orthodontics after the fact. And the authors cover the many specific options available within this field, along with supportive therapies. They also focus on how we might prevent such problems from arising in the first place.

Want to check out this book for free? Just leave a comment below to let us know you’re interested. We’ll randomly choose a name from all those who comment before June 1, and they’ll receive a free copy of Jaws, courtesy of Stanford University Press.

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Put Up the Piñata!: It’s Root Canal Awareness Week Yet Again

Updated from the original

tooth pinata and toothbrush batAnother year, another National Root Canal Awareness Week is underway, courtesy of the American Association of Endodontists (i.e., root canal specialists).

“Millions of root canal treatments are performed successfully every year,” says one past AAE president, “saving natural teeth and helping patients keep their smiles.” More than 3/4 individuals they surveyed said they’d “want to avoid losing a permanent tooth, something root canal treatment can help prevent.”

That’s presuming, of course, that they don’t mind that tooth being morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead.

For that’s what a root canal therapy (RCT) involves: removing all the living human tissue within, then filling and crowning the remaining hull of the tooth. Take a look:

In no other case would it be considered good medicine to leave a dead organ inside a living body.

More, it is impossible to completely disinfect the dentin – the tissue between the enamel and pulp. Its 3 miles or so of microscopic tubules make an ideal home for bacteria and other pathogens, which continue to generate toxic, metabolic waste long after the tooth has been filled and crowned. In fact, that’s when they thrive, preferring a dark, moist, low-oxygen environment.

Such toxins may freely enter the general circulation via the tooth root and go on to affect other tissues in the body.

That’s what Dr. Joseph Issels was getting at when he referred to a root canal tooth as “a dangerous toxin producing ‘factory,’” and a potential source of chronic, degenerative illness – just as Weston Price had established in the early 20th century and has been repeatedly confirmed since.

The solution is not to just yank out all root canal teeth, though. In fact, one reason why Price’s work on focal infections came to be discounted was dentists naively extracting root canal teeth from patients whose health did not improve one bit afterwards. It wasn’t the theory that was wrong; only some of the actions it inspired.

Simple extraction is seldom if ever enough.

If healing is to happen, the health of the extracellular matrix – the biological terrain – MUST be addressed first. For just as its condition dictates the course of disease, it also guides healing. Addressing the terrain means supporting and strengthening the body’s self-regulating abilities so that when it comes time to address specific dental issues – root canal teeth or otherwise – the body will be able to respond positively and move toward health.

For more on Issels and the connections between systemic health and root canal teeth, see “Focus on Foci” from the Issels clinic.

For more on the biological terrain, see Dr. Verigin’s booklet How Illness Happens, and related materials in our Biodental Library.

Image via Lucy Barfoot

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Patients Caught in the Tentacles of the Allopathic System

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

emergency roomPhysicians trained in orthodox Western medicine are marvelously able to treat cases that come into emergency rooms – victims of accidents or shootings, say, or acute infections. They are armed with a wide array of powerful drugs and exceptional surgical skills to save lives, give miraculous relief, or simply buy valuable time under adverse or extreme circumstances.

They are also – no doubt partly due to the influence of Big Pharma on medical education today – duly equipped with the latest chemical weapons to quickly attack symptoms as if they were enemies on a Middle Eastern battlefield. So many of them are rooted in “anti-“ ness: antibiotics to kill bacterial infections; antihypertensives to lower blood pressure; anticonvulsants to control seizures; antihistamines to suppress allergic responses; antidepressants to alleviate depression; and so on.

These anti-life medicines were all developed to act as selectively as possible, with little or no regard for a patient’s individuality, let alone the causes behind their symptoms.

The Road to Polypharmacy & Beyond

A basic question about such drugs is whether most patients will actually feel better, live longer, and suffer fewer setbacks or complications as a result of taking them.

The law of averages suggests that many of these drugs can do at least some of what the physicians want and expect them to do – and some things things that are less than desirable. Every drug, after all, has both benefits and risks, and often hidden costs, as well.

pillsIf the drugs are powerful enough to do what pharma scientists expect them to do, what else might they be capable of? What effect will they have on the body’s other physiological functions – the ones that aren’t the direct target of the drug?

Those “side effects” are just as much a part of a drug’s power as everything else it does. All effects are direct effects. All result from the action of taking the drug.

It’s just a short step from there to polypharmacy, using other drugs to counteract problems caused by the first – problems that are often treated as independent, unconnected to the original problem the patient sought help for.

Then there’s the question of whether the drug is actually helping correct a condition or merely masking symptoms. Will symptoms return with even greater intensity once the drug wears off or is stopped? The patient then runs the risk of taking the drug for an even longer period of time, perhaps indefinitely.

Unfortunately, this can result in transforming what might have been a one-time episode in a person’s life into an ongoing disease state. Symptoms turn into chronic illness, or one disease multiplies into half a dozen different diagnoses, all of which are treated independently.

This is like a phonograph needle stuck in a record groove, repeating sound endlessly as the needle digs deeper and deeper into the vinyl.

Anti-Medicine vs. Life-Promoting Care

That dynamic is a big reason why patients who have been through (and through and through) our nation’s “healthcare system” are so excited to learn about the paradigms that inform biological medicine and dentistry: Pischinger’s concept of the extracellular matrix and ground system regulation; Reckeweg’s homotoxicology; Enderlein’s pleomorphism; Vincent’s bioelectronics and acid-base balance; Voll’s and Kramer’s laws of resonance; and Popp’s biophoton theory.

cauduceusYet these are all quickly dismissed in an environment dominated by the marketing, spin, and influence of the pharmaceutical industry. The science that doesn’t suit corporate goals is ignored. Clinical practices rooted in that science are portrayed as ineffective, impossible, unworthy of serious consideration.

After all, they don’t use the brute force of Western medicine to manipulate the life force of the patient’s physiology in the name of Science over Nature.

Yet true health requires conditions for proper cellular growth, with the key factors focusing on the health of the terrain (milieu/matrix) that surrounds and connects them. The human body can only be as healthy as its matrix.

In today’s world, the major problem in human health is a very toxic and polluted matrix, as we discussed previously in our series on “The Causes of Illness and Degenerative Diseases” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

The Art of Caring

Often when allopathic practitioners – or advertisers – talk about “healthcare” to patients, medically or dentally, they seem to just toss you a menu of treatment options to think through. Treatment is the goal. That’s what gets rewarded in our system. Consequently, that’s what you’ll always get more of. Outcomes don’t matter. Treatment does.

In this light, it seems clear why the US spends more on “healthcare” than any other nation in the world yet ranks so low in actual health.

The focus on treatment might also explain some of why so many patients we see in our office complain that they can’t get a physician or dentist to thoroughly listen to them. As I see it, listening is a crucial part of my calling.

“True listening,” wrote Virginia dentist Paul Henny in a recent essay in a newsletter called Thought Experiments, “requires a setting aside of ourself.” It means listening without a preset agenda in mind or trying to steer conversations toward our own goals or satisfaction.

The goal is to create a safe psychological space where the patient senses acceptance, and therefore feels less vulnerable and thus more inclined to open up and share their fears and concerns regarding dental issues.

This is a challenge in the modern dental and medical environment. But I understand it to be critical for truly helping the people who consult me and helping them bring about the desired results for their health and well-being.

It requires a mission like the one Elizabeth Sustick suggests in her brilliant article “Anthroposohic Nursing”:

The question for human-centered health care that addresses the dignity and wholeness of the ill person is an urgent need of our time. Nursing and caring currently exists in a healthcare context dominated by the economics of curing through diagnosis and measuring symptoms. Within such standardized health care programs, the individual can get lost, and the cultivation of clinical sensitivity and the humanity of caring are diminished. In particular, the caring encounters that emphasize caring dialogue and caring touch are lessened.

Caring is the primary focus of nursing. The aim of caring is to support and strengthen the individual patient’s health processes. It is caring that supports and strengthens health, including the experience of well-being: life as meaningful and coherent.

The art of caring has an important task in the development of the human being. We perform outer tasks consciously, working with life forces, creating the conditions that allow the formative creative powers to work. Creation happens anew every day, and as we work with formative life forces, creation is continued.

doctor and patientContrast this model to modern allopathic medicine, whose paradigm is in chaos. It remains stuck in the chemical body and a linear world. It has an assembly line attitude, where every 10 minutes, a new patient comes through to be dealt with in a mechanistic way. The doctor tries to find something wrong, just as they were trained to do, while the patient just wants help in staying well.

Science has moved on, yet much modern medicine remains trapped in the mindset it’s taught for 175 years. All the high tech trappings and feel-good ads about how much the corporations care cannot hide this simple fact.

“Doctors are specialists,” integrative physician Carolyn Dean writes in her book Death by Allopathic Medicine.

A specialist is a person who rigorously defends their right to be ignorant of except their specialty. Patients are finding that they may know more than the doctor, especially nutritional topics. More often than once we have had patients tells us that when they asked their physician about how they may change their nutritional idiosyncrasies to enhance their health they say, “If it tastes good then you should spit it out”!

Yet the doctor, instead of pleading ignorance on the subject of nutrition and food supplements, will insist that anything that has not been scientifically validated is, therefore, at best costly and at worst dangerous. The doctor becomes a financial advisor. The doctor is blind to the fact that thousands of studies do prove the worth of food supplements. If a doctor did not learn it in medical school, then it cannot be worth knowing.

More than ever, patients who call our office tell us how their dentist or physician no longer believes the reality of illness they live with each day. Trust in the system is quickly eroding. This will continue, Dean notes, “until the whole system blows up and is transformed into something new, and hopefully better, and hopefully within our lifetimes.”

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time and money making it. – Author Unknown

ER image by MilitaryHealth;
pills image by pumpkincat120, via Flickr

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KTH Flashback: Removing Mercury Amalgam Fillings – an Important Step but Just One Step

Originally posted June 7, 2017; updated

open mouth with amalgam fillingsImagine you’re locked in a room where low levels of carbon monoxide are constantly being piped in. Eventually, you start to get a headache. You feel queasy, dizzy, weak. But before you get to feeling any worse, someone comes to let you out.

A feeling of relief comes quick.

So you might expect similar relief after getting mercury amalgam “silver” fillings removed from your mouth. You’re no longer subject to their 24/7 release of neurotoxic mercury vapor.

And research continues to suggest this – such as the study published last year in Acta Odontological Scandinavica. Evaluating data from a small group of patients, the authors found that

Removal of amalgam restorations was followed by a long term reduction of general health complaints, which was associated with mercury concentration in urine before amalgam removal.

This similar to what one of the author’s 2016 doctoral thesis showed: a significant reduction in health complaints at three years after amalgam removal.

But here’s the thing to note: Being mercury-free didn’t mean being symptom-free. Patients reported feeling better yet still experienced a considerably high “symptom load.”

This simple fact offers another important reminder that just getting your amalgams out is seldom enough. Because at least some of the mercury released from amalgam fillings gets stored – and methylated – in the body, proper detox is needed to clear the metal from the body. And proper detox usually requires proper “pretox” – that is, getting the body ready to excrete toxins, opening the channels of elimination.

Mercury alone is seldom the problem in the patients we see. There are typically other toxic exposures. There are dietary and other lifestyle issues. There’s usually a history of other illnesses and injuries that have compromised the body’s ability to self-regulate as it was designed to do. There are often cognitive, emotional, and spiritual issues impeding the body’s ability to thrive.

Only by evaluating and addressing all factors that are compromising health – and doing so in a sensible, healthy, and logical manner – can real, long-term healing occur.

Image by Traci Lawson, via Flickr

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Guest Post: Not Just the Sugars but the Refined Starches, Too

Our thanks to the office of Houston biological dentist Dr. Bill Glaros for letting us share this recent post from their blog. You’ll find the original here.

starchy foodsWe’ve all heard that sugar rots your teeth. But believe it or don’t, there may be something even worse: sugar and starch together.

At least, that’s the case with root decay, according to a study just published in Caries Research.

For it, researchers created typical dental biofilms – plaque – on slabs of root dentin. Dentin is the middle tissue layer of your tooth. On your upper tooth, the enamel protects it, but on the root, it’s protected only by cementum. This tissue is slightly softer than dentin, which makes the root more vulnerable and allows decay to be more aggressive.

The slabs of root dentin were treated with human saliva for one minute 8 times a day, then exposed to 1% starch, 10% sucrose, a combo of both, or a saline control. After 96 hours, the biofilms were then collected and analyzed. Demineralization of the dentin was measured.

Treatment with a starch and sucrose combination provoked higher (p = 0.01) dentine demineralization than sucrose alone…. This was supported by lower pH values (p = 0.007) of the culture medium after daily exposure to the starch and sucrose combination compared with sucrose.

In other words, conditions were more acidic, and acid means demineralization.

And this makes perfect sense. We’ve known for decades that starchy foods, like sugary ones, can mean trouble for teeth. After all, they not only begin to be broken down as sugars as you chew them; they tend to stick to (and between!) the teeth. This allows harmful bacteria and other oral pathogens more opportunity to feed on them and generate the acidic waste that destroys enamel.

More, Weston Price demonstrated many decades ago that white flour – the stuff of many a starchy food – was just as damaging to teeth and orofacial development as white, refined sugar. These were just two of what he called “the displacing foods of modern commerce” – modern, industrially processed foods that replaced the more wholesome foods of traditional diets.

But foods made with industrially processed grains – breads, crackers, pasta, and such – are only some of the starches common in the modern diet. Potatoes are perhaps second only to grains as a source of starch in the standard American diet, where they’re usually eaten in the form of chips, fries, or “frozen potato products” (think Tater Tots and hash browns).

Other starchy foods include corn, peas, root vegetables, and beans, though these all tend to be non-refined and more nutrient-dense. The latter are also balanced by their high protein and fiber content.

But while a bit of whole grain, sprouted grain, or sourdough can be fine now and again, for many of us, it’s easy to let similarly starchy food take over.

Some people can even find it harder to give up starches than sugar.

Fortunately, in these days of gluten-free eating, paleo diets, clean eating, and other food-conscious habits, there are more alternatives than ever to conventional starchy foods – from spiralized vegetable “pastas” to nut flour breads; cauliflower crust pizzas to carrot or parsnip “fries;” zucchini pancakes to squash latkes.

Once you get a few cooking techniques under your belt, it becomes easy to come up with your own variations on the fly.

What are some of your favorite ways to replace nutritionally empty starches in your diet? Share your ideas in the comments!

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A Closer Look at the Biological Terrain (a/k/a the Extracellular Matrix)

Health and illness are driven by the condition of the body’s internal environment or biological terrain. But what is the terrain, exactly? What is it made of? What happens there? How can we support its optimal function – and thus our optimal health?

In the webinar below, naturopath Dr. Stefan Kuprowsky covers the essentials of this essential aspect of your physiology.

Note, though, that when it comes to detoxifying the matrix, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The particular remedies used may be different for each patient, depending on their unique health history and current toxic burdens or challenges. This is why a complete biological assessment is crucial before starting any detox process, particularly if you have any long-standing chronic illness.

Learn more about how the terrain/matrix affects your health: Explore Dr. V’s Biodental Library.

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Not Quite the Solution They Expected, Pharma Edition

Remember those millions of new patients created by the latest change in blood pressure guidelines, all freshly eligible for drug treatment they hadn’t needed just the day before?

MDLinx headline


According to research presented at the recent Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology, two classes of drugs commonly used to lower blood pressure may actually raise a person’s risk of death: alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists.

Analyzing data from over 10,500 adults with hypertension, the researchers found that those taking these types of drugs showed greater variability in blood pressure levels.

Previous research, however, has discovered that consistency is key for blood pressure levels. A study published in The BMJ in 2016, for example, associated higher variability of systolic blood pressure with a 15 percent increase in all-cause mortality.

Consequently, said the researchers, these drugs should be avoided.

We say, well, that’s a start.

More: The Illusion of “Side Effects”

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