Some of the most commonly asked questions about dental care and holistic practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
That is a difficult question because the answer depends on who you ask. There are two different philosophies that address this issue. If you ask the dental profession they would say that the fillings are cost effective and long lasting (which is true). If you ask a holistic/ alternative practitioner (eg. naturopath, homeopath, acupuncturist) they would answer that mercury vapours evaporate off the fillings 24 hours a day since the moment they were placed in your mouth. You would inhale the vapours into your lungs and directly absorb 80% of that into the blood stream where it can be carried and potentially contact every cell of your body. Mercury is the most toxic, non-radioactive heavy metal on earth.
There are two approaches here, on one side longevity or life of the filling and on the other side the toxic effects on the person. You must decide which approach resonates with your philosophy and then decide which material you would prefer to have.
The main alternative to the metal fillings are called composite resins. They are plastic/glass materials. There is much talk in the media about BPA (Bisphenol A) and its effects on the human body. Regarding BPA’s presence and release from dental fillings, there is no research that shows there is any release but research is continuing to investigate this issue. Dental manufacturers are now producing filling materials that are BPA free although there are only a couple of products available at present.
There are two main concerns during the removal process. When the filling is being removed the debris generated can be swallowed and it consists of fine particles of the filling material which is made up of mercury, silver, tin and copper and each has its own level of toxicity. To protect the patient from this fine slurry of mixed metals a rubber dam is used. It acts like a raincoat around the teeth and as a barrier it holds the liquid debris away from the throat allowing it to be vacuumed up thereby preventing swallowing it.
The second concern is that as the drill contacts the filling there is a liberation of mercury vapour and particulate, like sawdust and that is concentrated around the breathing area (nose and mouth). It is similar to someone blowing cigarette smoke in front of your face. The answer to this concern is oxygen, this way you are breathing a separate air source during the removal process. The oxygen is left on for approximately fifteen minutes after, and during this time the mercury and particulate dissipates and because mercury is so heavy it falls to the ground. The office also has special air filters that clean the mercury out of the air. Scientific research shows that by using the above precautions the patient’s potential exposure is dramatically reduced to the point that blood tests do not show an increase in mercury while without the precautions there is a substantial increase in blood mercury levels.
Homeopathic remedies are used to complement existing dental treatment. For instance, many patients do not like to take pain killers so remedies can be used in their place. There is a difference though in how they work. A pharmaceutical forces the body to do something, in this case stop the sensation of pain.
Homeopathic remedies on the other hand do not do anything on their own, rather they stimulate the body to heal itself. The body knows how to heal itself if given the information and the remedy acts as that information, therefore the correct remedy must be given to direct the body to do the necessary work. There are so many remedies available because there are so many varied combinations of symptoms. In homeopathy the symptoms are the language the body uses to tell us what ails it. The remedy then stimulates or directs the body to cure itself. The body can heal itself better than chemicals can conjured up in a pharmaceutical lab. When the correct remedy is given the level of pain drops and slowly disappears as the body heals itself. Remedies are used after extraction or for infection after a root canal procedure. It is up to the patient to decide which route they want to take. Some people even use both homeopathy and pharmaceuticals together for various reasons but what is often found is that once the remedy has dropped the discomfort level low enough then the pain killers are no longer required.
The traditional approach to treating gum disease is to attack the bacteria in the mouth. This has been effective in controlling gum disease in most individuals through brushing, flossing and other techniques to remove plaque around the teeth. Certain herbs with antibacterial properties have been recommended by complementary/alternative dentists which increases the ability of the individual to kill organisms found under the gums that are associated with gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (destructive gum disease). Such herbs have been incorporated into toothpastes, mouthwashes, and products that can be irrigated under the gums. These products have benefited the individual, but from a holistic point of view we look at how we can change the person so their susceptibility to the disease changes the chance of the disease occurring or progressing. In order for this, we need to use products that are not directed at the bacteria but that change the body. This has been done by Dr Manhart using the proprietary products he has created over the last 30 years through Calcium Therapy. Using the Calcium Brush, Oralcal liquid and Carpules as a home care treatment, and supplemented with in-office placement of a calcium product, the gums and tooth symptoms associated with gum disease change.
There is no guarantee any treatment will cure any disease but when using tools that are focused on supporting the body towards health and healing, the disease symptoms start to lessen and we feel better. We look for reduced bleeding of the gums, reduced tooth sensitivity and reduced gum inflammation. Following a proper regime, the condition of the gums should reflect health rather than disease.
There is no recommended dietary intake for fluoride, in fact fluoride is a waste product and a reactive halide molecule. The theoretical benefits of fluoride according to the dental profession are topical. This means that having fluoride coating the surface of the tooth helps reduce the chance of developing cavities. If this is the case that the benefits are topical then why is fluoride added to the water because the topical dose it too low to benefit? Not only is the dose too low to benefit but by ingesting a low dose over years we are subjecting all the cells of our body to this toxin.
Fluoride is well known to damage DNA, protein and collagen. In fact one of the well known side effects of ingesting too much fluoride is called fluorosis which is a mottling of the teeth. The effects of this are considered cosmetic because the tooth can appear to have white chalkiness areas in the enamel in mild cases or brown pitted areas in more severe cases. What really is happening here is that the fluoride has altered tooth development in the jaw by altering or influencing the cells that grow the tooth. This means that the fluoride has charged the biochemistry and physiology of those cells. This is happening all over the body, except in the tooth scenario we can see the effects externally while with our internal organs we cannot see the effects so blatantly.
The medical/dental approach to disease is that we label a condition and then try to find a pill to treat it. In our case the disease is dental decay or cavities and the pill/medicine is fluoride. One of the differences though is that medicine will prescribe an exact amount of the drug depending on the condition and will alter the dose as dictated by the response of the body. With fluoride the medicine is added to the water and whatever will be, will be. In the summer when it is hot you receive more medicine because you drink more when it is hot, in the winter less. The dosing is occurring half hazardly. Also the claimed benefit is only when the teeth are developing in the jaw which on average is up to age 12. This means that everyone over the age of 12 is ingesting a toxic substance which has no redeeming or beneficial properties, and has definitive and well documented toxic effects. The levels in the water use to be 1 part per million (PPM) and was reduce to 0.6 at some point in time because of the realization that people were receiving fluoride from too many sources.
The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is quite high at 1200 ppm. When toothpaste expressed on the toothbrush covers the whole length of the bristles it contains a toxic dose of fluoride to a child, and a whole tube of toothpaste can be fatal if ingested by a child. On the tube it states that only a pea sized amount of paste should be placed on the toothbrush. One of the concerns with children is that whatever amount of paste is placed on the brush, the whole amount will be swallowed. It is only after age 10 that they start to eliminate some of the paste while spitting and only by age 13-14 will most of it be spit out.
The truth of the matter is that the large majority of cavities are due to too much sugar, and that includes all natural sugars, and deficient cleaning of the teeth (brushing/flossing etc.). By taking greater responsibility for our diet and that of our children (although I know how difficult it can be) and being a little more conscientious of our home care we can decrease the number of cavities substantially.