Read Part 1, “What Weston Price REALLY Learned About Root Canals”
From the May 2014 issue of Biosis:
How “Saved” Teeth Become a Problem
By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
Last time, we took a closer look at Dr. Weston Price’s root canal research. This work is often misunderstood. Many people – in his own time and today – believe that because his findings showed that root canal teeth can trigger illness, simply removing them will restore health.
This is an oversimplification.
Price understood that the environment in which a tooth is placed – the “soil,” so to speak – matters greatly. This was the inspiration for his later studies of the effects of calcium and acid-alkaline balance, and an insight central to the rest of his work. As he wrote in Dental Infections and the Degenerative Diseases,
Every individual with infected root canal filled teeth must have either an efficient “quarantine station” around the tooth – such as a granuloma or a cyst – or have that “warfare” taking place elsewhere—a systemic effect which will appear in its weakest tissue-heredity-susceptibility-defense overload which was created by a nutrition based diet that lacks base minerals.
In other words, the body will do all it can to defend itself, and its ability to defend is dictated by the health – or lack of it – of the individual. Dental infection is not, in fact, the only contributing factor to systemic troubles. Yet interestingly, he didn’t seem to feel the need to stress this point.
I have not repeated over and over, out of fear of being misunderstood, that I do not believe dental infections to be the only sources of these systemic troubles because of my confidence in the good sense of the readers…. In nine out of ten of us that final combat [with infection] may come as a premature so-called old age or degenerative disease, and many years before it should, not only because of needless dental infections, but also because of other overloads, one of the most important of which is faulty nutrition and diet. [emphasis added]
But what about the root canal teeth themselves? Price – who, himself, performed root canal therapy on his patients – noted some challenges as to knowing if or when a root canal tooth may be causing problems or not. “Local comfort,” he wrote,
not only is not certain index of success or safety, but may constitute both what is probably one of the greatest paradoxes and one of the costliest diagnostic mistakes through injury to health, that exists in both dental and medical practice, because it may only mean the absence of local reaction which would, if present, incidentally make the tooth sore and fundamentally destroy the infection at its source whereas, the absence of this local reaction and its consequent destruction of the infection products, permits them to pass throughout the body to irritate and break down that patient’s most susceptible tissue, which tissue can be anticipated very frequently, if not generally. [emphasis added]
He added that dentists are “ruthlessly and needlessly sacrificing innumerable good teeth…but many other innumerable teeth now being entirely overlooked or being passed as not having sufficient evidence of pathology.” But just because a tooth doesn’t look or feel sick doesn’t tell us all that much.
I believe even root filled teeth can become (and I believe ultimately generally do become) infected, because every tooth may contain approximately five percent culture medium, even after root filling, unless something has been done, which as yet I have not had evidence can with confidence be accomplished, efficiently to establish a condition in which neither microorganisms nor degeneration products of tooth tissues can develop.
So should you rush out and get those root canal teeth extracted? Again, Price:
All root-filled teeth should, in my judgment, be considered under suspicion or at least under observation and should be checked up frequently and regularly if that patient’s best interest is to be concerned: for, as we will see, there are many forms of systemic disturbances which may be aggravated, if not directly produced, by these dental infections which we have not yet considered. The severity of the systemic expression and the contributing factors, – namely dental infections and contributing overloads, – must all be considered in deciding what type of operation may be made in a given case. [emphasis added]
In other words, it depends. For human beings do not react in any kind of uniform way – not even remotely! – that would justify a one-size-fits-all approach. Individuals cannot and should not be judged by the same standards and be considered comparable in their susceptibility to systemic involvement from dental infections.
However, they can be divided into what we might call risk groups according to the classifications delineated Dr. Reckeweg in his Disease Evolution Table. But before proceeding, let’s take a quick look at what we mean when we speak of a focus and how a root canal treated tooth can become one.
A focus is a chronic, abnormal change in the connective tissue capable of producing variable effects quite distant from that site. (You can learn all about foci – that’s the plural of “focus” – here and here and here.) A non-vital (dead) tooth provides a perfect example. Once a tooth has lost its vitality due to chronic inflammation of the dental pulpal complex [nerves and blood vessels], necrosis follows – perhaps gangrene, too. The tooth as a whole might be likened to a piece of dead bone resting in the jaw.
This is the point at which dental schools teach, “Do a root canal.” That way, the tooth needn’t be removed. (They call this “saving” the tooth, even though what’s saved is no longer living tissue.)
Root Canal Treatment From Start to Finish
Dental students are taught that this process fully disinfects the tooth. But take a closer look at the tooth structure in the above illustrations and you’ll notice something missing. While the accessory lateral canals are shown (labeled in the first image, in the lower roots), no indication is given of the three miles of micro-canals that lead from the pulp chamber toward the enamel of the crown and into the cementum of the root. Those micro-canals are the dentinal tubules.
Like any other cells in the body, those of the tubules contain various protein processes. Eventually, they decompose, inviting various microorganisms to inhabit them: bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus and parasites. Their toxic excretions travel through the tubules – first into the cementum, then into the periodontal ligament that connects the tooth to the jaw and finally into the marrow of the jawbone.
From there, the toxins enter the general circulation and, eventually, the cerebral spinal fluid – a substance that helps protect the brain mechanically and immunologically, and is critical for brain autoregulation and blood flow.
At Sweden’s University of Umea in 1964, Tore Patrick Störtebecker, MD demonstrated that there is a direct communication between the teeth, their surroundings and the intracranial cavity. Simply, the research team injected the jawbone marrow and tooth pulps of cadavers with a contrast medium (a 60% solution of Urografin, similar to what’s used in angiography – an imaging technique used to visualize blood circulation). It filled three major complexes of veins throughout the head: the pterygoid plexus, orbital plexus and the intracranial venous system.
Störtebecker observed a couple of important neurological implications. First, he noted that communication between the cranial and vertebral venous systems may allow the microbial toxins from dental (as well as urogenital) foci into all parts of the central nervous system. This meant chronic dental infections could play an important role in the development of some forms of MS (disseminated sclerosis). After all, the upper teeth are only 3/4 of an inch from the base of the brain.
His second observation was based on the principle that infectious agents take the shortest path. In the case of cranial lesions, this means look to the cranial venous system for signs of infectious foci.
Together, these led Störtebecker to pose a critical question: Can our society really afford to take care of all these “dental diseases” involving the spread of highly pathogenic toxins from the teeth and jaws through the cranial venous system and into the brain? The consequences to the nervous system are potentially gruesome, from epileptic fits to schizophrenic-type hallucinations, MS to malignant brain tumors.
Other research has lent further support to Störtebecker’s findings. For instance, Marinesco and Draganesco – two acclaimed scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris – documented the spread of herpes simplex through the bodies of rabbits. They saw how the virus traveled first along the ciliary ganglion and into the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve, then continued via the Gasserian ganglion and into the brain stem.
In the US, Teague and Goodpasture independently showed that herpes simplex virus can spread to the spinal ganglion of the posterior root via the sensory afferent nerves. Their research was published in the Journal of Medical Research (44:139).
R.K. Anderson’s work likewise supported this concept of local infection traveling through the brain. Research published in the Journal of Neurosurgery (8:411) showed that there is direct communication between the veins of several organs (prostate, kidneys, adrenals, lungs and mammary glands) and the cranium via the vertebral venous system.
Any kind of microbiota may travel this path from the jaw to the brain.
In our next issue of Biosis, we’ll take a closer look at some of the specific toxins generated within root canal teeth and how they impact the body…
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