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.

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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

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Biosis #48: Biological Dentistry & the Road Ahead


The August 2015 issue of Biosis, our quarterly newsletter, is now online.

For this issue, we’re stepping away from our usual format to share, in full, the latest installment in Dr. V’s ongoing series on the need for truly comprehensive biological dental care to support healing and optimal whole body health: Dentistry Shouldn’t Be “Just Another Profession,” Part 3: On the Road Ahead:

We ended last time with a look ahead to some case histories that illustrate both the ravages of modern medicine and what is actually needed to stimulate healing. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that we should first take some time to get clear on the matter of what biological dentistry actually is.

So often, patients come in for a second opinion, having been told that they need many thousands of dollars of dental work, including implants and root canals and unnecessary crowns. Sometimes it’s a conventional dentist who’s told them this; sometimes one who describes his or her practice as “biological.” In neither case has the relationship between their dental and medical ills been completely or successfully explored.

The very term “biological dentistry” didn’t even exist until 1985, when Dr. Ed Arana and I started the American Academy of Biological Dentistry (now called the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine). We felt it was the best term to describe the fusion of biological medicine and clinical dentistry we were learning from German researchers and practitioners like Reinhold Voll, Ralf Turk, Fritz Kramer and others. As we put it back then in our founding statement,

21st Century Medicine will be concerned with the depollution of the internal and external environments. It is time to correct our mistakes and become biologists of the mouth in addition to our technical expertise. Physicians and dentists must work together for the good of the whole person. The fragmentation caused by specialization must be rethought. An integrated and unified approach of mind, body and spirit in diagnosis and treatment must be instituted for all. [emphasis added]

The shift away from this ideal is one that we’ve seen before. So let’s take one more look back at the evolution to dollar-driven health care, only this time focusing on the dental aspect…

Read Biosis #48 now.

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Dr. V’s Evolution to Mercury-Free, Mercury-Safe Dentistry


This week marks the fifth annual Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, a campaign coordinated by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice to raise awareness of dental amalgam’s toxic burden, the alternative of biological dentistry, and the promise of a mercury-free future.

Our office began the transition to mercury-free in the mid-1970s, as Dr. Verigin began investigating his own increasing symptoms following amalgam removal that had been performed rather carelessly on him a few years prior. While in Colorado Springs for a meeting on TMJ issues, he also met with mercury-free pioneer Hal Huggins. He began regularly attending meetings around the country where he was introduced to a lot of eye-opening new health research and literature.

“One of the books that really got me excited,” he says, “was on chelation therapy. I had no idea what it was, but after reading it, I knew what the problem was.”

Treating himself, Dr. V eventually became symptom-free. Ever better composites became available for our patients. Increasing numbers of them said “no” to mercury amalgam. By the early 1980s, our office was 100% mercury-free.

Still, Dr. V continued his studies, learning all he could about the remarkable medical and dental science being done in Germany by the likes of Reinhold Voll, Ralf Turk, Fritz Kramer and so many others. In 1985, he and colleague Dr. Ed Arana formed what they then called the American Academy of Biological Dentistry (now known as the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine) to bring these scientists and clinicians to the States to teach them and other American dentists all they could about the relationships between the teeth and the rest of the body, the intricate and dynamic relationships between oral and whole body health.

Going mercury-free – and mercury-safe – was just an early (and critical) step on what continues to be an incredible journey.

In light of this week’s mercury-free celebration, we share with you one of Dr. V’s early columns from our quarterly newsletter Biosis – now nearing the end of our 11th year of publication – in which he talks a bit more about his own relationship with mercury and how it changed over the years:

Mercury in the Mouth: Are the Health Threats for Real?

September 2005

When I was a boy, every time I had a cavity, I would get what the dentist called a “silver filling.” And each time, my mother would give the dentist the most corroded dime she could find in her purse. He’d dip it into a puddle of the mercury to give her a sparkling coin that looked brand new.

Whenever I caught a cold or virus, my mother was sure to check my temperature with a mercury-filled thermometer. When I scraped or cut my skin, I would cry, scream and holler – not from the injury itself but the sting that followed her saturating the wound with methylate. When I got my vaccinations, the live viruses always had been preserved with thimerosol.

Back then, all this mercury didn’t really concern anyone. But the times are changing. Or are they?

In dental school, I was trained to restore teeth with mercury. Though they were called “silver” fillings, mercury was – and is – the main ingredient: 53% of the material, balanced by a mix of silver, copper, tin and zinc. Still, we were taught to call them “silver” or “amalgam.”

What we weren’t taught was that they could be a possible hazard to human health. In fact, our teachers insisted that mercury amalgams had improved our health and quality of life! Meanwhile, they spent a great deal of time telling us how to store and dispose of the waste so as not to contaminate the environment.

Some 20 years later, by the time I finished attending a seminar at the University of Hawaii, I was convinced of the danger of these fillings. Our office quit using mercury completely.

Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin. It can exist in one or more forms: elemental, inorganic and organic. It does not degrade in the outside environment or the body. But it can change from one form to another and circulate throughout the environment.

After a dentist places elemental mercury into a patient’s teeth, chewing, grinding and like actions cause mercury to outgas from the restorations. Microbes in the patient’s body convert the mercury to an organic and far more toxic form. This methylmercury then concentrates in the patient’s tissues, just as in the environment it concentrates in the tissues of fish, shrimp, oysters and other sea creatures. There, it gradually moves up the food chain to the seafood-consuming public.

After years of denial, corporate medicine now admits that the outgassing of mercury from fillings does occur. Yet still they insist that it is not a problem. Even some “alternative” practitioners seem to buy this line, including Andrew Weil, MD, the Harvard-trained author of several books on diet, nutrition and holistic healing, and a frequent Oprah guest.

Weil’s view was recently brought to my attention by a client who had experienced fantastic physical, emotional and spiritual benefits through amalgam-removal and a precise detox program that included sauna, massage and oral and IV chelation. Arriving for her semi-annual dental health maintenance visit, she asked if we wanted a “great laugh.” Then she handed us an article from the June 2005 issue of Dr. Weil’s newsletter Self Healing, with this passage highlighted:

Last year, an expert panel did conclude that some mercury vapor is released from dental fillings and absorbed by the body. But most of the people studied had mercury levels at or lower than what’s considered harmful. In fact, according to one expert, you’d have to have about 500 mercury fillings in your mouth to produce toxic levels. With 32 teeth, that’s impossible. Plus, the panel found no link between mercury fillings and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (By the way, the mercury used in fillings is a different variety – and probably less harmful than what’s found in contaminated fish.)

My bottom line: I used to have a mouthful of mercury fillings, but as they have broken down over the years, I’ve had them replaced with either gold or composite resin fillings. I wouldn’t get any new mercury fillings, although I have to point out that we don’t know the safety of these other types of fillings, either. However, I don’t think it’s worth the trauma and expense to have mercury fillings taken out until they break down. Removing them may cause even greater exposure to mercury than leaving them in.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

There are a number of excellent websites with scientific articles and information that show why mercury is a poor choice to put in any tooth. Among them:

Also be sure to see the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology’s video Smoking Teeth, an excerpt of which is available on the IAOMT website, as well as YouTube. You’ll see exactly what outgassing looks like and learn of its terrible effects on the body.

Although most conventional dentists show few signs of moving from the status quo to scientific reality, the public is. A recent Zogby survey of Connecticut consumers, for instance, showed that more than 80% support a ban on the continued use of mercury fillings. Now if only the “professionals” would listen to them and stop deliberately going against both their wishes and interests by putting more mercury into their mouths.

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From the Archives: Not Just the Mercury Fillings or Just the Root Canals or Implants or Cavitations

Originally posted in slightly different form January 14, 2013

“The brain taking shortcuts is one of the cornerstones of human intelligence,” says cognitive neuroscientist Itiel Dror.

Shortcuts enable the brain to deal with the mismatch between the capacity, the computational power, of the brain, and the need to process some of the information.

* * *

The fact that we have a smaller brain, that we can’t process all the information, has, from an evolutionary perspective, forced the brain to be more sophisticated, to decide what’s important and what’s not important, to have a plan. “What am I going to do? What am I going to need for the future?” This is the core of intelligence: thinking what information is important, not important and so on.

But sometimes, mental shortcuts can lead us astray. You can find one example in some followers of “natural” or “holistic” medicine. The error comes in accepting the same understanding of illness and health as the conventional Western medicine they distrust or reject. Instead of drugs, they’ll take herbs or homeopathics; instead of surgery, acupuncture or other less invasive therapy.

It’s unconventional treatment pursued in a very conventional way – a way that depends on linear, mechanistic thinking.

And that thinking, as we’ve noted, is a real limitation of the conventional model.

This mechanistic thinking also drives the belief (and hope) that if only a chronically ill person could get rid of their mercury fillings or root canals or cavitations or implants, their health may be restored. But what we repeatedly see in clients with severely compromised health from decades of progressive illness is that dental factors are just one of many physical and energetic burdens on the body. As we wrote before, dental factors are often just “triggers to deeper, more ingrained health issues.” Some people may tolerate amalgam fillings or root canal teeth for years – just as long as the body is able to effectively excrete the toxins. But should it fail and toxins accumulate, from dental sources or elsewhere…then you have problems.

When we analyze a client’s biological terrain, current dental conditions and complete health history, we typically see burdens building from a very young age and accumulating over time. “Simple” and “easy” health complaints are treated with drugs, which add to the burden and often generate more symptoms “requiring” more treatment. The illness progresses into deeper and deeper phases. Eventually, the person may turn to non-allopathic therapies, but if they’re used in the same mechanistic way, positive results tend to be short term.

For healing, the body’s self-regulating mechanisms first must be stimulated. You have to spur its innate clearing and healing ability so it can finally begin excreting the accumulated toxins. Once you do, other interventions – cavitational surgery, say, or mercury removal – should prove more successful.

Going this route requires a change in thinking – a willingness to go beyond simplistic explanations and superficial gestures toward cure. It requires expansive thinking and acceptance of the dynamism that life, by definition, is.

4501127631_9b6702c8b2_zConsider the study on the link between autism and industrial diets that some reduced to the sound byte “high fructose corn syrup causes autism.” But that’s not exactly what the paper said. What it did suggest is that the metaoblic effect of HFCS prevents or limits the assimilation of minerals and other factors that allow the body to excrete heavy metals such as mercury. This, in turn, may facilitate the absorption of pesticides, which have also been found to contribute to autism and an array of neurological disorders.

The “Redox/Methylation Hypothesis of Autism”…proposed that oxidative insults arising from environmental exposures, such as Hg and pesticides, can cause neurodevelopmental disorders by disrupting epigenetic regulation. The macroepigenetic Mercury Toxicity Model expanded in this paper provides additional support for the “Redox/Methylation Hypothesis of Autism” while contributing important insight into the oxidative stress feedback mechanisms that may occur as a result of malnutrition resulting from dietary exposures to toxins. The delivery of children exhibiting autistic behaviors might be associated with the prenatal diet of their mothers. The severity of these behaviors can be further exacerbated by toxic dietary exposures of the children, which can improve with dietary changes aimed at eliminating these exposures. Children with autism could well be exhibiting an epigenetic response to several neurotoxic substances at once, including, but not limited to, inorganic Hg, Pb, OP pesticides and/or HFCS. The combined effect of these substances acting together is likely greater than the sum of the effects of the substances acting by themselves. This effect likely reduces neuronal plasticity and impairs learning capacity in autistic children. [emphasis added]

Not just one factor but many factors involved in dynamic relationships, compounding and complicating problems that each could cause on their own. Underscoring this: Within the same week as the above study made news, there was word of other new studies clarifying other factors at work in the development of autism, including immune system disturbances, obesity during pregnancy and genetic factors. Maybe further research will show that dietary factors drive these components; maybe something else.

Even then, as yet one more study reminds us, a single dietary factor can cause different results depending on the make-up of the diet as a whole.

You’ve got to look at the big picture. Always.

Images by Meredith_Farmer and v i p e z, via Flickr

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The Importance of Considering the Teeth & Jaws in a Case of Full Body Illness

It’s a dental version of Groundhog Day.

dental lamp

On March 14, 2005, a British man serving overseas in the military went to a dentist for root canal therapy. Ever since, he’s wakened believing it’s still March 14, 2005, and that he has a dental appointment later that day.


According to the recently published case report, though his long-term memory seems fine, he can only hold new memories for about 90 minutes. After that, new info vanishes.

In general each morning he is surprised to wake up in his mother’s house. He wakes up believing that he should still be in the military, stationed abroad. Every day he thinks it is the day of his dental appointment.

Through prompting by his wife, WO checks his computer each morning on which they have listed (and keep updated) key facts he should be aware of. Some events that have occurred since the onset of his condition in March 2005 continue to elicit genuine surprise or astonishment each time he sees or hears about them, such as the marriage of some family friend or that a family pet has since passed away. WO manages his daily life and generally remains oriented throughout the day via the use of continuous access to an electronic diary and prompts. Technically apt, he learned to use satellite navigation and a new digital camera proficiently, and he originally problem solve other tasks each time, such as how to turn on the power to his family’s new television. He drives himself to appointments through the use of satellite navigation and/or previous familiarity with the region in which he lives. Preserved ability to parent and deal effectively with emergencies has been demonstrated. His wife reported subtle differences in his ability to cope with stress or multiple demands on his attention, and he reportedly becomes more easily frustrated and intolerant and takes less interest in everyday family affairs, though his personality otherwise remains largely intact.

WO has remained completely oriented to his own identity, and that of his family, though he expects everyone to still be the age they were in March 2005. He has written down his children’s current schools and achievements, and wife’s new job. When office-based assessment sessions lasted more than 90 min, WO became completely disoriented to time and place, if kept from referencing his electronic calendar, appointment letter, or a clock. Though we have seen WO on multiple occasions, he demonstrates no recognition of ever having seen us before, and we must start afresh with introductions each time we meet. He is attentive socially, though requires his wife to answer questions regarding events since March 2005 that he has not otherwise written down and/or reviewed within the last hour or two. If asked, he may say, “I know I have a memory problem,” or “I think it is March 2005, but it is not….”

This condition of being able to remember the distant past but not more recent events is called anterograde amnesia and is a bit like what happens in an alcoholic blackout. It may be caused by benzodiazepine use or brain damage, but neither seemed to be the case for WO.

“Initially,” write the clinicians, the patient’s symptoms “were thought to be an atypical reaction to the anesthetic.” Yet there was no apparent cerebral damage. Both EEGs and brain scans came back normal. Their current thought is that there may be a breakdown of mRNA protein synthesis in his brain.

Of course, this is to look at it primarily from the perspective of neuropsychology. But what about the dental angle?

One overlooked possibility is bacteremia – bacteria in the normally sterile blood – which has been shown to occur rather often with root canal treatment (RCT). This should be no surprise, since root canal teeth are fantastic harbors of infection. Biopsy studies have shown that virtually all root canal teeth are riddled with pathogens and other toxins. It’s not just about bacteria from the original infection that ultimately prompted the need for RCT. As Dr. Verigin notes,

In a living tooth, the protein processes of these cells are continually bathed in intracellular fluid – dentinal lymph – from the pulp. When a dentist removes the pulp, however, they’re severed and remain within the dentinal tubules. Because there’s no longer any blood supply to them, they undergo necrosis – that is, they die and decay, just like the flesh of a putrefying corpse. The local biological terrain changes, and the microbes respond by degenerating into viruses, fungi, parasites and other pathological microbiota (i.e, “bad bugs”). Over time, their toxic metabolic waste migrates through the tubules and into the cementum, periodontal ligament and bone. From there, it finds its way into the general circulation, free to infect other organs.

Back in the 1960s, the late Patrick Stortebecker, once a professor of neurology at the famed Karolinska Institute in Sweden, conducted an important series of experiments that showed how pathogens can travel from the teeth to and throughout the brain. This and further research molded his understanding that infection in the jaws may play a significant role in psychological disorders, autoimmune conditions, seizures and other health problems.

Obviously, we can’t know if this is the case with WO. Still, his case serves as a reminder of the need to consider oral conditions when assessing systemic health problems. To neglect the teeth and jaws is to potentially miss important information for proper diagnosis and treatment.

So many patients we see in our office come to us after years of progressive or compounding illness, bouncing from doctor to doctor, each giving a different diagnosis. Finally, someone says, “Hey, let’s look at what’s going on dentally,” or the patient comes across a website, book or video that opens their eyes to the possibility of a dental connection. Often, their treatment must involve much more than dental work alone. Often, other work must be done first, before we can begin to address any specific dental pathologies.

But by including dental care within the total treatment plan, such individuals may finally find some relief after years of suffering.

To learn more, visit Dr. V’s Biodental Library.

Image by Gary Denness, via Flickr

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From the Archives: FAQ on the Biological Dental Perspective

Originally posted in slightly different form November 9, 2011

Since 2004, Dr. Gary Verigin’s free newsletter Biosis has offered its readers comment and teaching by Dr. Verigin, health news, wellness tips and more – all within an integrative, biological dental frame. It’s name comes from the Greek word meaning “to live.” “Biosis” means “a mode of life,” which is both a process and an indivisible state of being. It is wholeness itself.

Below is a sample – part of Dr. Verigin’s article “A Biological Dentist’s Perspective on Living Systems,” which offers a good intro and overview to what a comprehensive biological approach to oral and physical health involves.

In Neural Focal Dentistry, Dr. Ernesto Adler quotes dialogue from a German TV show:

Interviewer: Is it possible to draw conclusions about the rest of the organism from the examination of the teeth?

Dental Professor: NO!

Interviewer: Is it possible that teeth in a pathological condition may cause or sustain illness and disorders in the organism?

Dental Professor: NO!

But as Adler’s text shows, those resounding nos speak loudly of the speaker’s ignorance or resistance (or both) to dental realities. In 339 pages, Adler brilliantly relates his clinical observations on the connections between dental foci, interference fields and nearly every other branch of medicine. He presents hundreds of well-documented cases, showing amazing cures of severe illnesses once interference fields of the head were removed. (What are foci? See the previous series “Understanding Dental Foci and the Disease Process”: Part 1, Part 2.)

I now want to share how we combine Adler’s paradigm with Reckeweg’s, which we explored last time. The more keenly our clients know these concepts, the more effectively we can work together to map out the most logical route of beneficial dental therapy. And perhaps the easiest way to see how this all comes together is through answers to some common questions about our work with biological clients.

What happens when someone contacts you because their health care provider recommended they see a biological dentist?

First, I think that their practitioner is someone who thinks outside the box! Many conventional physicians seem to think teeth are like fingernails — appendages that look nice, help us eat and may be chewed on when nervous. The globally thinking practitioner understands better. The teeth are living organs, and along with the surrounding structures, they can affect a person’s health.

So while most dentists know that diseased periodontal tissues are linked to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, not all realize that the teeth can cause problems. They don’t accept that mercury amalgam fillings, root canal teeth, cavitations and implants pose any health risks. They don’t think biocompatibility testing is needed or useful. They seem to believe that whatever materials a manufacturer sells must be safe and will cause no problems so long as they’re properly crafted into properly fitted restorations.

How do toxins fit into the picture?

If you follow the daily news, you’re well aware of just how unhealthy our country is. If you’ve seen films like Food, Inc., you know how genetically modified foods and industrial farming practices are global efficiencies that trade profits for health. If you’ve read books like Selling Sickness, you know how corporate medicine is driven by markets, not health or human need. And how unhealthy is it making us? Consider these findings from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

According to the information gathered from data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the first quarter of 2008, there were 20,745 reported serious injuries associated with drug therapy, up 34% from the previous quarter, and up 38% from last year’s average. Even more eye-opening than the number of serious injuries is the number of reported deaths — 4,824 people were reported killed from pharmaceutical drugs in the first quarter of 2008, a 2.6 fold increase from the previous quarter. This figure represents the highest number of patient deaths ever reported in a single quarter as a result of drug therapy. It also accounts for more deaths than those due to homicide during the same period.

Meanwhile, our environment is increasingly contaminated. The subglacial volcano that erupted in Iceland last month [April 2010] coughed up a dust cloud that crept across the industrial powerhouses of Europe, casting a pall over an interwoven world. The microscopic particles were reported to be as hard as a knife blade. Not long after, the BP spill began gushing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its source deep below the sea. Whole ecosystems are threatened. If and when fishing ever resumes there, you can be sure the catch will be tainted for a long time after.

These kinds of polluting substances are what Reckeweg called homotoxins:

[In] our war with these homotoxins and that which is damaged by poisons, toxins, chemotherapeutics and others, the organism tries to repair itself. These reactions of self repair we call illness. These reactions are expressions of proper healing. In Phases 1-3, the humoral phase the detoxication and excretion of homotoxins occurs. In Phases 4-6, the cellular phase is where the organism has lingering diseases; the organism is damaged more or less by homotoxins and attempts to regulate these damages.

So one of the first things we do when a person asks us to look for dental obstacles is to get their complete health history. For one, it can help us identify potential sources of homotoxins, whether their origin is explicitly dental or external. But it can also cue us to the possibility of dental foci. Lingering, chronic diseases, degenerative diseases, recurrent illnesses, allergic reactions and unclear ailments such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia often suggest that foci may be a factor.

How do you determine whether dental conditions are a factor?

Obviously, a detailed oral exam is required. We chart the existing teeth, fillings and restorations, as well as the condition of the gums. I also look for any soft tissue conditions that could indicate trauma or potential cancer lesions.

Next, we evaluate the client’s occlusion, dental orthopedic alignment, vertical dimension and TM joint function, and palpate the muscles of the dental cranial complex, including the neck and shoulders. If multiple metals or a lot of metal restorations are present, oral battery testing is in order. This test measures the electrical current they emit, which at significant levels can contribute to a host of medical problems. We may also conduct pulp vitality testing, which measures the response of each tooth’s nerves to electrical stimulation. It’s important to note, though, that this doesn’t determine pulpal health. A tooth can be “vital” yet still have a chronically inflamed pulp that may be a focus.

A full mouth set of x-rays is also taken, but they give us just a two-dimensional understanding of the teeth. They may show potential foci, but foci can’t be diagnosed from them.

How can you diagnose foci?

Palpation (systematic touching) of the submandibular (below the jaw) lymph nodes is the first step. If any are sensitive or enlarged, we know that the lymphatic defense barrier is under siege. Antibodies are being formed to counter homotoxins in the jaws’ terrain.

Another set of points to be evaluated are those advocated by Dr. Adler in Neural Therapy Dentistry. These “Adler points” are located in front of the paravertebral (upper back) muscles on the transverse processes toward the top of the spine (C2-3). If they’re sensitive to pressure, foci are likely present. If the sensitivity is over C2, the focus is in the upper arch; if C3, the lower. Sinus points are located at the lower edge of the occipital bone (on the lower back of the skull). Tonsillar points are located on the upper edge of the trapezius muscle. People who have had their tonsils removed — or who have thyroid disorders — often experience pressure to the fourth cervical vertebra, which indicates pathological changes in the deep lymphatic glands.

If these tests are positive, we then turn to electrodermal acupuncture evaluation (EAV). This technology lets us locate foci and determine their type, intensity and distant effect. Bar none, it’s the most meaningful test for foci available. As with any diagnostic tool, of course, EAV is subject to an element of uncertainty. Thoroughness and precision in collecting the health history and conducting the various exams, then comparing results across the data, are the best means of minimizing uncertainty.

If toxins are the problem, what kinds escape a root canal tooth or cavitation jaw lesion and disrupt the biological terrain?

In Cancer: A Second Opinion, German physician Joseph Issels noted that 98% of the cancer patients he’d treated had at least two root canal teeth when he first examined them. Swedish neurologist Patrick Störtebecker reported that over 90% of his brain surgery cases reflected the presence of dental foci. Suffice it to say, potent toxins are at work here.

One of the main toxins emitted is mercaptan — the same stuff that natural gas companies add to their odorless product so that if there’s a gas leak, people can smell it. It’s so powerful that if you had two Olympic-sized pools and someone put just three drops of mercaptan in one of them, your nose would be able to tell the difference (Discover Magazine, May 2010). Root canal teeth and cavitations ooze this stuff — along with equally smelly thioethers — into a person’s system 24/7, 365 days a year, from the dead microbes they house.

So what does a person do with this knowledge, and how should they proceed with treatment?

First, it’s important to realize that even if foci are present, they may not necessarily be the root or sole source of illness. Other factors may be involved, including toxins from pesticide residues in foods, food additives and pharmaceutical drugs. Often in the case of long-standing, chronic illnesses, an interference field can prove to be but a co-factor — albeit one that plays a huge role in the development of the multi-causal illnesses charted on Reckeweg’s Table of Homotoxicosis.


Click here to view a full size PDF of this chart.

This is another reason why getting the big picture is so important.

Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of clients come in. One totes two shopping bags full of supplements they’re taking. Another lists 84 different pharmaceutical drugs and 60 over-the-counter drugs they’ve used in the past decade. Yet both and others like them still walk around profoundly fatigued, in pain and experiencing all manner of symptoms. They think that if they just have their amalgams replaced, root canal teeth removed or cavitations cleaned out, they’ll be on the road to physical recovery.

After 45 years of practicing dentistry, I can tell you, this never happens.

The homotoxins they harbor in their biological terrain — the common sounding board for the accumulation of everything they’ve been exposed to in their lives — are numerous. This is why Reckeweg developed his paradigm. He needed to have a roadmap of which organ systems or tissues layers were involved with which symptoms or illnesses, and how those symptoms or illnesses progressed.

Those with a profound toxic load should never proceed with dental surgery without first triggering regressive vicaration — movement from right to left on Reckeweg’s chart above — via Antihomotoxic Therapy and dietary changes. Once the illness, symptoms or EAV data shift from the cellular phases to the humoral, surgery becomes an option. The idea is to enhance the client’s physiological functions before doing anything that might sap their strength or otherwise cause a setback. You prepare the body to heal.

Adler writes,

While it is impossible to see the moon during an eclipse, the beautiful moon is still there. It is not possible to see everything at once. Interference fields are sometimes imperceptible to our sense of sight and smell, but in spite of everything, they do exist as far as their effects are concerned! It is just that they are sometimes very difficult to find. Because of this, it is not easy to come up with the appropriate treatment for the illness corresponding to the hidden interference field.

But although it’s not easy, the benefits of finding and appropriately treating dental foci are immense, and if foci are suspected, the sooner the better. Individuals need to be carefully evaluated before functional illness becomes an inorganic syndrome and they are plagued with chronic, lingering diseases which may be irreversible.

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