Just What Goes Into Your Mouth During A Dental Visit?
Perhaps you have never given it much thought, but it is a surprise to many people to learn that there are numerous chemicals, potential toxins, and allergens that are commonly introduced into the body during the course of various standard dental procedures. These treatments can range from a general cleaning of the teeth to more invasive procedures such as having cavities filled, undergoing a root canal, or getting braces. In addition, as we will discuss in more detail below, the mouth is a particularly efficient part of the body at absorbing substances directly into the bloodstream, thus increasing the potency of any contaminants that may be present. Some of the ingredients found in dental products that we will touch on are known toxins, and without question harmful to our bodies. Others may or may not adversely affect a person, based mainly on their level of sensitivity to the substance, and whether they experience an allergic reaction. However, it is vital that we become aware of what we are being exposed to in the dentist’s office, and to understand that if we are informed and proactive with our dental providers, there are many less harmful options available.
Why is the Mouth Such a Critical Area of Ingestion Into the Body?
Before we get into the specifics about what substances we are exposed to through dental work and how they can harm us, it is important to understand that we must be especially careful about what we allow to be introduced into our mouths. Any nutrient or foreign substance that is absorbed by the mouth, and especially under the tongue, by passes the normal path of digestion that usually goes through the intestinal tract and is filtered by the liver before entering the blood stream. This type of ingestion is known as sublingual (literally “beneath the tongue”), and it is a fast track directly into the body. There are many pharmaceutical drugs and vitamin/mineral supplements that are specifically designed to be absorbed sublingually, as there are certain advantages to this path. For one thing, substances that are ingested sublingually are not exposed to the large number of enzymes and other chemicals found in the digestive tract, and can thus be absorbed without being broken down as much. Saliva contains a certain amount of enzymes, but not nearly the number that are found in the gut. This can be advantageous for substances that are nutritious to the body or as an aide to help some medications be more effective. However, for toxins and allergens such as those found in many dental procedures, it only makes a bad situation worse. Poisons that the body recognizes are normally weakened by passing through the digestive tract. This is known as “first pass” digestion, and the liver is one of the primary organs involved in this filtering process. When toxins are ingested sublingually, however, they are able to maintain more of their potency, and thus result in greater damage to the body. Illicit users of many street drugs have discovered this, and it is now common for them to ingest their drugs under the tongue to increase the effect. What this means to us as dental care consumers is that we must be very cautious about the ingredients that we are exposed to orally.
What Are the Worst Offenders Associated With Dental Care?
Fluoride is probably one of the most common toxins that we are exposed to in a dental office or even at home through over-the-counter products that contain fluoride. The whole idea of fluoride being protective and beneficial to teeth is based on a combination of junk science and outright cover ups and lies from government agencies, dental organizations, and industries that depend on fluoridated water to help them get rid of fluoride. Statistics prove that tooth decay is on the rise in this country, even in municipalities that have fluorinated water. In fact, fluorosis, which is tooth decay caused by the chemical fluoride, is also on the rise. If you can wade through all the propaganda about fluoride, it appears that it is causing more tooth decay than it is preventing.
Besides its effects on tooth enamel, fluoride is plain and simple a poison that does not belong in the body. Studies have linked fluoride poisoning with many other illnesses, including kidney disease, thyroid dysfunction, and deterioration of the nervous system, including the brain. Fluoride also is toxic to the immune system, causing it to become weakened and compromised.
The use of fluoride is standard operating procedure in many dental procedures. Most dentists use products containing fluoride to clean your teeth. Then, once the cleaning is completed, they typically offer you a fluoride treatment or sealer which involves additional topical fluoride. Orthodontists are also very “fluoride-friendly.” The latest technology is the use of time-released fluoride components in the adhesive used to attach braces. It is also used in orthodontic devices that are designed to manipulate certain parts of the mouth, mainly the molars and other teeth near the back of the mouth. If you or your child are working with an orthodontist, be sure to tell him or her that you do not want to use products containing fluoride. There are alternatives available, even though some providers will tell you that is not an option. Be sure to shop around and find dentists and orthodontists that will work with you in this matter. You should also be aware that most insurance companies will not cover many nonstandard treatments, and it may cost you anywhere from 30% to 300% more if you request alternative products. It is my opinion that these ridiculous mark ups are used as a deterrent to keep people from “rocking the boat.”
Nickel allergies are another common consequence of dental care. In fact, nickel causes the highest number of allergic complaints of any metal used in dentistry. It is very common in orthodontics, and many products including braces, brackets, and retainers include significant amounts of nickel. In recent years, many orthodontists are seeing an increase in the incidence of nickel sensitivity, and this is likely because many patients these days are already sensitized to nickel through body piercing. Many metals and other allergens, including nickel, have a cumulative effect on the body. Initial exposure may not trigger any symptoms, but once the body has been sensitized to the substance, future exposure may lead to visible reactions. Nickel allergies typically produce a rash known as contact dermatitis. Nickel-titanium alloys may contain up to 50% nickel, but even most stainless steel is formulated with about 8% nickel. Nickel is a very common allergen, with many patients entering the orthodontists office with an existing allergy. However, it is thought that up to 20% of people who are introduced to nickel will develop the allergy. Scientists call this being “converted.”
Alternatives to nickel are available in the form of ceramic devices, low-nickel stainless steel, and other options. Again, these are not usually offered. You must request them and will probably need to pay for them out of pocket in many, but not all, cases. Some insurance providers will cover them if you have a proven nickel allergy.
It may appear on the surface that a case of dermatitis is no big deal, but the problem with allergies is that once you get one allergic reaction, you are more likely to experience others. Allergic reactions involve altered responses of immune system, and it is thought by some researchers that allergic substances, especially in sensitive areas such as the mouth, may open the door to other immune system problems, and certainly to the risk for an increased number of allergic reactions. Some studies have identified dental allergens such as nickel and others as “cross-allergens” that may lead to other types of allergies, such as those associated with foods. The opposite may also be true, that those with food allergies are more susceptible to dental allergies.
Other substances that are common dental allergens include:
▪ Latex (typically from gloves worn by technicians)
▪ Rubber: A common substance used in root canals called gutta-percha contains rubber, and many people are highly allergic to it. Root canals in general can be very dangerous, as the procedure can expose you to dangerous bacterial infections.
▪ Mercury: Commonly found in amalgam fillings. It causes allergic reactions in many individuals, and mercury is also a very toxic poison that is a potent neurotoxin. If you choose to have amalgam fillings removed, be sure to choose a specialist who is experienced at such procedures.
▪ Balsam of Peru: Also used in root canals, and as an additive to many dental cements.
▪ Sulfonamides: Chemicals used in dental sealants and root canals.
▪ Gold: Not as highly allergic as nickel, but a significant number or individuals have allergic reactions to gold.
▪ Many other chemicals are commonly used in dental equipment and procedures. Some of these are allergens, some are poisons, and some are both. A few of the most common ones to be on the watch for include:
– Benzocaine (used as a dental anesthetic)
– Menthol (an additive in many dental care products)
– Propolis (found in sealants and other products)
– Copper sulfate ( used in cements and restorative devices)
– Methacrylates (cements and root canals. This substance has been linked to asthma in some patients).
If you want to know more details about what is in the products your dentist uses, you have the right and he has the legal responsibility to provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for every ingredient that is used. These can be very valuable resources to help you learn more about these substances and their potential hazards.
It’s a shame we have to question the substances and procedures that we are exposed to when we go to a professional to seek care for our dental needs. It would seem logical that dentists and orthodontists would never allow allergens and toxins to compromise the health of their patients, but unfortunately that is not the case. We as consumers must be assertive and take control of our welfare and that of our family’s by demanding full disclosure and alternative therapies that will not endanger our health.
When un-covering a potentially health damaging concern, it is always necessary to find an answer that will promote good health and well-being.
Biological Dentistry recognizes the intricate connection between dental health and the health of the body. This involves removing and replacing mercury-containing dental fillings with synthetic substitutes. Biological dentists approach their patients holistically, which means they consider the entire body rather than just the diseased tooth or gums. Biological dentists usually recommend other remedies including healthy diets that to help detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system. Biological dentistry can also involve oral acupuncture, surgical scraping, cleansing and detoxification, chelation therapy, neural therapy, laser therapy, and "mouth balancing," which is the attempt to improve structural deformities in the mouth and jaw.
The only concern with biological dentistry is that most dental insurance will not pay for the services of a biological dentist. Much like conventional insurance will not pay for alternative or natural medicine. Some biological dentists have moved their practices into Mexico in order to be able to practice in a manner which is conducive to whole body health and wellness. Googling “biological dentists” should provide you with some resources to investigate for your dentistry needs.
In the meantime, practicing prevention is highly recommended. The following suggestions will help you and your family toward good mouth and teeth health:
– Use fluoride-free toothpaste or tooth soap.
– Use a water-pik or oral irrigation device daily and place 1-2 drops of Oregano Oil in the water.
– Brush teeth for at least two minutes. Brush your tongue, cheeks and roof of your mouth while doing your teeth.
– Consider using an ion toothbrush such as Braun or Sonicare.
– After brushing use an all-natural spray mouth cleanser – Breath Fresh™ is an excellent choice and comes in a convenient size for purse or pocket.
– Consume lots of organic raw fruits and vegetables which actually act help to scrub the teeth. Nutrition definitely has an impact on the teeth.
– Drink clean, purified water and eliminate sugary drinks.
– Change your toothbrush frequently and especially after an illness.
– Perform whole body cleansing at least 2-3 times yearly.
– Try oil-pulling for dental health.
– See your biological dentist yearly.
For more information about biological dentistry
– Mercury Free by James E. Hardy, D.D.S.
– Whole Body Dentistry by Mark A. Breiner, D.D.S.
– It’s All In Your Head by Hal Huggins, D.D.S., M.S.
– Tooth Truth by Frank J. Jerome, D.D.S.
– Root Canal Cover-Up by George E. Meinig, D.D.S., F.A.C.D.
– Elements of Danger by Morton Walker, D.P.M.
– The Complete Guide to Mercury Toxicity From Dental Fillings by Joyal Taylor, D.D.S.
– Death and Dentistry by Martin H. Fischer
– Uniformed Consent by Hal A. Huggins, D.D.S., M.S. and Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D.
– Fluoride-The Aging Factor by John Yiamouyiannis