Are Your Dental Fillings Making You Sick?
by Terri L. Saunders

Amazing as it may seem, approximately 80% of the population have inside their mouths the most toxic non-radioactive substance on the planet. This known poison is mercury, and it comprises 50% of all "silver" amalgam fillings that are placed in people’s mouths during routine dental procedures. Even though the American Dental Association claims that mercury has been safely used in dentistry for the last 150 years, and is not harmful when alloyed to silver, copper and zinc in amalgam fillings, research and experience have proven otherwise.

Remember the phrase "mad as a hatter"? In the 1800’s, hatters used mercury-based black paints on the brims of hats. While they worked they would breathe in the mercury fumes and lick the paintbrush to get a finer point. As a result, many hatters got mercury poisoning as the mercury went right to their brains, affecting their psyche. Is it any wonder that dentists have the highest suicide rate of any profession?

Research conducted as early as a decade ago reported that old fillings viewed under an electron microscope showed holes where the mercury had evaporated, releasing 40% of the mercury into the body over a ten year period. The U.S. environmental protection safety limits for mercury exposure are 10 micrograms per day, yet mercury released from fillings can contribute up to three times this amount, just from the simple acts of chewing, brushing the teeth, or drinking hot liquids. Studies show that the average person makes and swallows 1.5 liters of saliva a day. Yet, if they have as few as four amalgams present in their mouth, their saliva is so high in mercury they cannot legally spit into the toilet in the USA. In fact, amalgam that has been drilled out of teeth must be collected by a special toxic waste disposal company in three airtight metal containers locked one inside the other and labeled with a skull and crossbones. Yet this material is considered safe when placed in our mouths?

According to scientists Sharma and Obersteiner at Utah State University, mercury is even more toxic than aluminum, lead, cadmium or arsenic. They state that mercury is "a strong protoplasmic poison that penetrates all living cells of the human body. Mercury is a powerful biological poison with no necessary biological function." The harmful effects of mercury on the body are almost too numerous to count. In many cases it can take up to twenty-five years for disease symptoms from mercury poisoning to manifest.

Surface particles of elemental mercury from amalgams are acted upon by oral and intestinal bacteria to produce methyl mercury, an even more toxic form of mercury that targets the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and the brain. Mercury rapidly absorbs across the blood-brain barrier and interferes with the transmission of nerve impulses to the rest of the body, causing tremors, shaking, tingling and numbness. Related effects on the nervous system are poor memory, inability to focus, anxiety, depression, irritability, nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, and muscle spasms.

Multiple Sclerosis patients have been found to have eight times higher levels of mercury in their cerebrospinal fluid compared to neurologically healthy individuals. Researchers at the University of Kentucky have now concluded that mercury from amalgams is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. They are also investigating the theory that Parkinson’s Disease and Lou Gehrig’s Disease are related to heavy metal toxicity.

Mercury has an adverse effect on the immune system, inhibiting the body’s ability to fight infection. In the Coors Foundation study of 1995, conducted by pioneering mercury-free dentist Dr. Hal Huggins, the blood of 28 patients was tested before and after amalgam removals. Dr. Huggins found that high levels of white blood cells (the marker for a challenged immune system) came down after amalgam removal, while depressed levels came up. In his article in Alternative Medicine, Dr. Huggins recalls the case of an eight year old boy who was diagnosed with Leukemia due to an extremely high white blood cell count three days after receiving two mercury amalgam fillings. When chemotherapy was given and his white count declined to dangerously low levels, the boy’s grandmother took him to Dr. Huggins who removed the fillings, and his white blood cell count immediately returned to normal levels.

Mercury in the body inhibits the repair of DNA and alters the ability of cells to selectively allow materials through their membranes. It changes healthy molecules into nonfunctioning chemicals and alters the activities of enzymes necessary for all biological functions. Mercury can displace and deactivate vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and chromium. It interferes with the hormonal secretions of the endocrine system. Of particular concern is mercury’s lethal affect on the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, preventing absorption of nutrients. Mercury signals antagonistic bacteria to mutate for self-preservation, creating new strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Other symptoms related to mercury poisoning are allergies, bloating, high or low blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, fatigue, muscle weakness, back pain, colitis, headaches, ringing in the ears, metallic taste in the mouth or smell on the skin, skin disorders, canker sores, and problems with the heart, thyroid, reproductive system, urinary tract and vision. Autoimmune disorders such as Lupus and Fibromyalgia as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have all been linked to mercury poisoning from dental fillings.

Since amalgams are a combination of different metals, they act like a battery inside the electrolyte and acid solution of the oral cavity, causing corrosion of the metals and creating electrical charges that negatively affect the brain and nervous system. Some people with amalgam fillings have even reported hearing local radio stations inside their mouths! This principle also holds true for gold fillings and crowns which are actually composites of several metals because gold alone would be too soft. Even porcelain dental material contains aluminum oxide and other metals. Metal-free dental materials are best.

In Dentistry Without Mercury authors Sam Ziff and Michael Ziff, DDS, note that the vast majority of people who have had their mercury amalgams replaced by non-metallic composite fillings have experienced improvements in their health. They cite studies that show 63% to 97% cure or improvement in all of the conditions mentioned above after amalgam removal.

Due to the overwhelming evidence regarding mercury poisoning from dental fillings, Sweden and some European countries have now officially banned amalgam fillings and are no longer teaching amalgam placement in dental schools. Other countries are quietly eliminating the practice without admitting liability. In Canada the issue has escalated into a class action lawsuit representing millions of Canadians who claim that they were not warned of the potential health risks of their mercury fillings.

In the United States, the American Dental Association (ADA) still stands by its story that mercury amalgams are safe. In fact, if a dentist in this country recommends that a patient remove his/her amalgam fillings in order to remove toxic substances from the body, that dentist is guilty of a breach of ethics and can lose his/her license to practice dentistry. This is actually what happened to Dr. Hal Huggins who wrote one of the most informative books on the subject, Uninformed Consent. Yet the ADA publicly absolves themselves of any liability in cases of dental mercury poisoning, letting the dentists fend for themselves. Recently on an Internet amalgam forum, it was reported that the ADA owns two patents on amalgams. According to this source, the amalgam manufacturing companies pay the ADA to put their seal of approval on their products.

If you choose to have your mercury amalgam fillings replaced by less toxic white composite fillings, it is important to go to a dentist that is familiar with safe removal procedures. For example, my dentist and his assistant wore gas masks during the procedure, while I was breathing pure oxygen. A negative ion generator and air purifier were in the room with a ventilation tube suspended above me pulling mercury vapors away as they worked. Though the impulse may be to have all of your fillings replaced at one time, if you have several fillings it is much easier on the body to replace one quadrant at a time over a period of a few months.

Once the fillings are removed, the next step is to detox the mercury that has been inside your body perhaps for many years. I recommend natural supplements instead of chemical chelation due to the potentially harmful side effects of the drugs.   Redoxal, a natural supplement consisting of DL Methionine and cofactors is especially effective for detoxing mercury and other heavy metals, as well as toxic chemicals out of the body.  Redoxal is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is therefore helpful with pain and muscle spasms that often accompany mercury toxicity.   Chlorella, vitamin C, cilantro, algin, and  L-Glutathione along with abundant amounts of purified water are also helpful. Herbal formulas for detoxing the bowel, kidneys and liver are also essential. Massage is especially beneficial to release the mercury burden from the musculature and lymphatic system. The detox process can also bring up emotional issues such as fear and anger, offering an opportunity to clear core soul issues. It may take from three months to five years or longer to cleanse the mercury from your body. Ultimately it is well worth the effort to remove this noxious poison from the system, bringing renewed vitality and balance to the body and mind.

Terri L. Saunders is an Herbalist and Certified Natural Health Professional in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she does private consultations, telephone consultations, and classes on natural healing. She can be reached at Sunrise Herb Shoppe, a unique holistic resource center for cutting edge natural health products and books. For information call 1-434-984-2665, or visit our web site at www.sunherb.com , or e-mail at sunherb@sunherb.com .