Your Teeth are Part of Your Body
I would like to thank Dr. Wolfe for contributing this article. This is a very important article for all of us. At the end of the article please note the references and resources list.
YOUR TEETH ARE PART OF YOUR BODY
By Bill Wolfe D.D.S., N.M.D.
People are becoming more self-sufficient in treating their illnesses. The number of books and magazines on health–related subjects demonstrate that consumers are more self-informed about their health needs than ever before. Dental disease is the most prevalent of all diseases. The United States Public Health Service reports that 98% of all Americans have some form of dental disease, most of which can virtually be eliminated by consumers taking responsibility for their preventive care. In addition: 18% of all Americans have such poor oral health that they can’t chew properly. Every year in the U.S. there are 60 million extractions, 9 million root canals, over 200 million fillings placed, and nearly 1/8 of all Americans have no teeth at all! The oral cavity is the dirtiest (by bacteria count) part of the body. In addition, there are the issues of: mercury / silver fillings; nickel crowns; bio-incompatible dental materials; electrogalvanism / dissimilar metals; dead teeth / root canals); residual jaw infections; etc., all of which can be additive in their effects on the entire body. Also, the major organ acupuncture meridians flow through the region of the oral cavity, and the teeth affect these organs at a distance through their influence on the associated meridian / energy pathways. Recently, there have even been numerous magazine and newspaper articles as to how gum disease can influence potential heart attacks strokes, etc. Therefore, the health of our mouth is crucial to our overall health, as our body is all one piece!
Regular Flossing Protects More Than Teeth And Gums
The normal human mouth harbors hundreds of species of bacteria, causing periodontal (gum and bone) disease, and research has demonstrated that that these same bacterial organisms get into the blood stream in the mouth and travel throughout the body, causing health problems in distant areas of the body. About 14% of all American adults have advanced periodontal disease, putting them at risk of losing their teeth, and most adults aged 60, who have lost teeth, may attribute their tooth loss to periodontal disease. However, teeth are not the only structures endangered by dental disease, as infections in the oral tissues are easily released into the bloodstream. Even in the 1800's, a treatment for arthritic joints was to have one's teeth extracted. Dr. Robert Genco, editor of the "Journal of Periodontology " and professor of oral biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, states... "patients think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they don't think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection that can release bacteria into the bloodstream ". He continues, "The end results could mean additional health risks for patients whose health is already affected by other diseases, or lead to serious complications, such as heart disease ".
Specific Diseases Linked To Periodontal Disease
Heart attack and stroke
Patients with periodontal disease are one and one-half to two times as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack and nearly three times as likely to suffer a stroke as those without gum and bone disease.
Bacterial infection and diabetes
It has been well established that diabetes predisposes patients to bacterial infections, including those affecting the oral cavity. Recent studies provide strong indications that periodontitis can make diabetes worse. Diabetics with severe periodontitis have greater difficulty maintaining normal blood-sugar levels. Treatment of periodontitis often leads to a reduced need for insulin. Dental researchers now recommend that periodontal inflammation must be treated and eliminated in all diabetic patients, especially because this treatment may significantly reduce the risk of injury to the retina and arteries, which are also common consequences of diabetes.
Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
Pneumonia occurs when bacteria dwelling in the oral cavity and throat are inhaled into the lungs where immune system defenses fail to fight them. Some bacteria that cause pneumonia thrive in infected oral tissues of patients with periodontal disease.
There is increasing evidence that infections of the mouth have a direct link to inducing premature labor. Periodontal bacteria stimulate the release of labor inducing substances such as prostaglandin. In one study researchers found that mothers of prematurely born babies were seven times more likely to have advanced periodontal disease as mothers whose babies were born at normal weight, even though no mothers in the study were otherwise at risk of having a premature baby. Researchers concluded that what is needed is a study determining whether treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women can reduce the risk of premature birth.
Patients with artificial heart valves and joints are at increased risk of suffering a serious infection when periodontal bacteria enter the bloodstream. In patients with artificial heart valves, the infection can be fatal unless promptly and aggressively treated with antibiotics.
Dentistry Is Not An Exact Science
Dentistry is an art form, and every dentist develops their personally unique way of "practicing" dentistry. For me, my personal conception of the practice of dentistry began when I was 14 years old and working as a part time dental assistant. At this time, in the early 60's, the technology of mixing mercury / silver, amalgam fillings was to add the liquid mercury from a dispensing vial to the powdered metal phase and to then mix the two components in an mixing device to incorporate the mercury into a mixture, or amalgamation, with the other metals. The resulting proportions were approximately 50% mercury, 30% silver, and the rest being varying percentages of zinc, copper, and tin. (similar percentages as modern day amalgams) The amalgam was then squeezed by the assistant in a cotton "squeeze cloth" to express the excess mercury from the mix (no gloves were used in 1962) into a jar to be stored in a "safe place". Invariably, some mercury would be spilled onto the counter top. In the process of wiping the mercury globules across the table top into a jar, I would play with the globules, separating and recombining them, although the dentist I worked for would tell me not to touch the mercury.
One day I asked him why he didn't want me to touch the mercury, as it was fun to play with. He replied that mercury was a poison, to which I asked him, "Then why are we putting it in the kids' mouths"? He said "that's different". I figured he was a doctor, he should know. I was "seduced" by the doctor image and didn't question the use of mercury in dentistry again until 27 years later in 1979, after having been a dentist for 7 years, at which time I had become very ill. This time I was the doctor, and I made the decision to no longer use mercury in my practice.
In a quest to regain my health, to stay healthy, and to develop a wider range of therapies for my patients, I studied homeopathy, electro-acupuncture, the meridian system, applied kinesiology, naturopathy, magnetic, color and sound therapy, myotherapy, auriculotherapy, enzymatic therapy, detoxification, etc. The conclusion resulting from studying all of the above is that yes, the body is all "one piece," and that the oral cavity, the teeth, and the dental materials are a major factor in one's systemic health. Dentistry is always a piece in the health puzzle...and sometimes a very large and overlooked piece!
The Western medical paradigm taught in medical and dental schools is basically that if you can't dissect it in gross anatomy class, it doesn't exist. They are right. My cadaver in dental school didn't have acupuncture meridians. However, you and I do have Chi (life energy) distributed throughout the body by the intricate meridian system. Classical acupuncture (needle stimulation) and electro-acupuncture (electro-dermal stimulation) are techniques to stimulate and / or sedate these meridian / energetic pathways. However, the original advanced approach to acupuncture, upon which more advanced (and complex) computerized systems have now been developed, was the electro-acupuncture system according to Voll (EAV).
Dr. Reinholdt Voll, a German physician and scientist developed EAV in 1953. Dr. Voll was trained not oniy as a medical doctor, but in classical Chinese acupuncture, as well as electronics. After developing an instrument named the Dermatron, to measure the electrical characteristics of acupuncture meridians, Dr. Voll established how the electrical characteristics of an acupuncture meridian measurement point, remote from the associated organ, can reflect the pathology of the organ to which those points refer. Another premise which EAV proved, was that a seemingly insignificant process in the body (a focus) is capable of producing a disturbance in this meridian flow and creating effects distant from the site of the focus. Furthermore, Dr. Voll found that the most common site of a focus.... is in the teeth and jaws ! Dr. Voll said that in 90% of all chronic diseases, there is an origination in the mouth.
I was very fortunate to study with Dr. Voll, and by following his testing techniques, I can demonstrate how a disturbance field (focus) in the oral cavity can affect distant organs. The energy meridian system flows through the oral cavity, and a focus in the mouth can create an energetic disruption of a particular energy meridian flow, reducing energetic nourishment for the corresponding organ, which results in a physical symptom. Such disturbance fields can be due to:
Possible Disturbance Fields In The Mouth
1. Bio-Incompatible Dental Materials
In 1826, a revolutionary new dental restorative material called 'amalgam' was introduced to the United States. The amalgam filling was developed in England and France and contained silver, tin, copper, zinc and mercury in various percentages...with mercury being the highest percentage at over 50%. The amalgam fillings were not openly embraced by organized dentistry in America, and in 1840, members of the American Society of Dental Surgeons were required to sign pledges not to use mercury fillings. In fact, several New York city dentists were suspended from this organization in 1848 for malpractice for using silver / mercury fillings. In 1859, a new organization was formed as a result of the internal strife over the use of mercury in dentistry - the American Dental Association, and their filling material of choice, as it still is today, is the mercury (approx.50%), silver (approx.30%) amalgam filling. In spite of numerous published scientific studies over the years demonstrating the ill effects of mercury fillings in the mouth, plus knowing that the FDA has never approved the amalgam mixture as a safe dental device, mercury / silver / amalgam fillings are still the primary dental restoration used by dentists in the U.S. (approx.100 million mercury fillings are placed yearly ).
So ignoring science, and just using common sense, here are some basic concerns:
fine by the Environmental Protection Agency ! Instead, the scrap is considered a toxic waste and must be removed by a hazrdous
However, there are many other issues in dentistry regarding the biocompatability of the dental materials placed in the mouth. The main issue being that there is no biocompatability testing required to bring a dental material to the marketplace. Besides, the mercury filling issue, there are also issues regarding: the constituents of the resins in composites (white, tooth colored filiings); the use of non precious / nickel metal crowns and root canal posts; stainless steel ( nickel ) appliances; denture resin materials; and the composition of implants, etc. The immune system has to "deal with" any foreign / non-self substance placed in the body. The quest then is to pick substances which are the least immune challenging, and also, to minimize the number of immune challenges (ex...when replaced, having all of your filling materials, bonding agents, crown materials, and cements, etc., be of the same substance / brand. ). It would be ideal if you and your dentist would have your own personal "dental menu" of dental materials to use, when dentistry is required. For information on biocompatability testing, check the references listed at the end of this article.
2. Tooth Decay
In order for dental decay to happen, three things are necessary: 1) germs, 2) germ food, and 3) teeth. The key to preventing the decay process is not to allow these three items to be present at the same time. The mouth is the dirtiest place in your body, and even though you might be a fanatic flosser, there will still be germs. Mechanical removal of germs is not the entire answer to decay, and loosing the teeth is what we are trying to avoid. Therefore, the real the issue, the one where you can have the highest degree of control, is your nutrition. Germs do have a preference of meals....refined sugars (sucrose), and since germs can't order out, they eat what we give them to eat. So it would seem pretty simple to just not eat refined sugars, right? Well, it is estimated that the average American eats 150 lbs. of refined sugar per year, and since I probably eat about 10lbs. of sugar a year, someone is eating my extra 140lbs. of sugar !
It's still not this simple. More than 1/6 of the calories in an average American diet derives from sucrose, however only about 20% of the150 lbs of sugar consumed per person is purchased in it's straight form for home use.....for coffee, baking, cereal, etc. The other 80% is hidden in foods,soft drinks, etc.....even disguised as other brand names. However, the germs that decay your teeth couldn't care less about what it is called!
It's still not that simple. Decay is also a systemic disease, as just as a tooth can effect the associated organ....the organ's health can also effect the tooth. In addition, the ph of the body has major effects effects on the calcium / phosporous ratios and proper calcium metabolism. The end result is still the same....deterioration of the mouth and another systemic interference field for the associated energy meridian pathways. For information on nutrition and dental disease, check the references listed at the end of this article.
3. Periodontal / Gum disease
This pathologic condition is characterized by symptoms ranging from swelling and bleeding of the gum tissue, receding gums, bone loss, and loose teeth. This disease process is present in approximately 85% of the population. While periodontal disease is thought of as an older person's affliction, as many as one-half of high school students have some form of gingivitis ( gum inflammation....a prelude to periodontitis ). Any degenerative condition in the mouth is a potential energetic disruption of the associated energy meridians.
Oral galvanism is a condition created when two different metals are placed in saliva. An electric current called a galvanic current is generated by the transport of metal ions from the dissimilar metal fillings into the saliva, which serves as the electrolyte. This same electrical generation process is what produces electricity in your car battery. Many people have a constant metallic taste, which is not viewed as a serious problem, but only as "an irrelevant phenomenon". However, clinically, high current and elecromagnetic fields in the mouth can have a negative impact on the energy meridians flowing through the mouth, and be a factor in the lack of energetic nourishment of distant areas of the body.
Electrical currents in the mouth and their potential health effects were first reported in the scientific literature more than100 years ago. In addition, numerous articles have appeared more than 75 years ago in both the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association about the systemic effects of these galvanic currents in the mouth. In fact, even my dental textbook (in 1968) on dental materials advised not to place mercury and gold so they are touching. In spite of these previous directives, a very highpercentage (at least 80 ) of all gold crowns I remove have a mercury filling underneath ! However, the subject of electrogalvanism is not just about about mercury. It's about a subject that architects, pipe fitters, metal workers, welders,etc.....but not dentists, are very familiar with... dissimilar metals. We do not know nearly enough about these electical fields and their effects on our biologic systems, as little research is being done in this area. Future research may demonstrate that such elecrical activity in the mouth may be the most damaging side effects of having metals in your mouth, as other areas of concern about the electrical current in the mouth my be demonstrated by EEG (brain) and EKG (heart) measurements.
Various galvanic measurement meters are available for your dentist to measure oral electrical activity in the mouth. For information on electogalvanic testing, and various protocals for mercury filling removal according to the sequential removal theory, refer to the references listed at the end of this article.
5. Traumatic occlusion / bite problems
If a tooth touches it's opposing tooth minutely quicker than the adjacent teeth, that tooth will receive more pressure than it's neighbors. This increased pressure everytime we close our mouths ( every 30 seconds or so when we swallow ) is what creates a traumatic situation for that tooth. Such repeated unbalanced pressure can result in tooth sensitivity, death of the tooth, muscle spasms, periodontal disease, or TMJ ( jaw joint ) pain. Beyond these primary concerns, is the energetic concern of the tooth being an energetic focus on it's associated acupuncture meridian, and the distant effects on it's energy meridian partners. Check the references listed at the end of this article.
6. Residual jaw infections / cavitations
When a tooth has been extracted, and the bone has not healed properly, these areas serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and their toxins. The reasons for this incomplete healing of the bone are many: chronically infected bone; poor circulation; poor nutrition; clotting disorders / "dry socket"; use of steroids; to poor surgical technique.
7. Dead and root canal teeth
It is estimated that approximately 9 million root canals are performed yearly. This fact, plus knowing that there are many more dead teeth in people's mouths than are identified for root canals or extraction, underscores the concern of " cadavers in the mouth ", the term which Dr. Voll used to refer to root canal / dead teeth. The issue about retaining dead teeth in the mouth and thereby being a cause of ill health, extends back into the 1800's. Check the references listed at the end of this article.
Any reversing of the above conditions can re-establish acupuncture meridian flow to and better health for the target organs and structures. Therefore, for one's highest systemic health, it is vitally important to maintain the health of the mouth. Dr. Voll's tooth and organ relationship chart can be seen here.
The previous summary is only a partial indication of the potential effects which dentistry has on one's systemic health. I encourage health professionals and patients to investigate, and conclude for themselves, as to the influence which dentistry may be having on their health and that of their patients. As Dr. Voll used to say..." You have an immune system bank account, how do you want to spend it ? Do you want to spend it on your mouth "? I don't think so.
Mercury / silver fillings: dental referrals or education sources
Mercury / silver fillings: medical referrals or education sources
Root canal teeth: testing and education
Sources for compatibility tests:
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ pain)
(800) 366-3748....(619) 462-7600
Dental hygiene products:
Contact Information for Dr. Wolfe:
Santa Fe, New Mexico