- Emily is 45 dealing with fatigue, brain fog and digestive issues as well as dry mouth and bad breath.
- Her doctor’s diagnosed her with Crohn’s Disease and Hashimoto’s but that alone didn’t help her symptoms.
- She tried changing her diet, took supplements and brushed her teeth after every meal.
My investigation started by looking into Emily’s dry mouth and bad breath. Her oral health was quite poor despite frequent brushing and I noted that she’d had several root canals and many silver fillings. I know this was going to be a key piece in solving her health mystery because even though these may not seem related, everything in the body is connected.
“Silver fillings” or Amalgam fillings are actually about 54% elemental mercury and mercury can cause all kinds of health issues. On top of that, our oral health can seriously impact our overall health, even when we think we are practicing good oral hygiene.
Dr. Kourosh Maddahi is a dentist to the stars, the author of ‘Anti-Aging Dentistry‘ and the founder of the research-based Lumineux Oral Essentials. He joins me in this episode to shed some light on what might be going on with Emily.
Your Mouth is a Gateway to Your Body
The mouth is the first entry point for the digestive system with regards to disease or infection. The mouth is the most vascular area which means that it is easy for bad bacteria and viruses to be transmitted through the mouth vascularly as well as by swallowing.
We know that chronic inflammation is a key component in many diseases and the mouth is also susceptible to inflammation. Gingivitis, for example, is chronic inflammation of the gums. This inflammation can increase the chances of transmitting disease because swollen gums are more likely to have tiny cuts (and bleed) which removes the barrier between bad bacteria or viruses and the bloodstream.
Signs of Inflammation in the Mouth
The first and most common sign of acute or chronic inflammation is bleeding during or after teeth-brushing. A second sign is if there is discomfort when eating, especially if there is pain when biting or chewing. Pain during eating can be a sign that there is an infection under the tooth, in the gums, or in the bone. Dentists can do X-rays and probe the gums to confirm chronic inflammation and/or a suspected infection.
Causes of Inflammation in the Mouth & How to Avoid It
Inflammation can happen quickly. For example, Dr. Maddahi says that a build up of hardened plaque causes inflammation and plaque can harden on your teeth within 24 hours. That’s why brushing frequently is so important. He says the simplest way to avoid inflammation is to remove plaque before it can harden – in other words, floss and brush regularly and see your dentist to remove hardened plaque every 6-months.
Health Risks from Silver Fillings (Amalgam Fillings)
Silver fillings contain mercury which is known to cause health issues. Mercury exists in three forms: solid, liquid, and vapor. The vapor form is the greatest concern in the mouth because it can leach out when we are chewing or drinking hot liquids and enter various tissues and organs. Of particular concern is that mercury vapor can break the blood-brain barrier and the half-life of mercury in the brain is 20-years. As mercury accumulates in organs, it can reach toxic levels. Mercury toxicity can impact the nervous, digestive and immune systems. It can also negatively affect the development of children in utero and in early life.
Testing for Mercury Toxicity
Common practice is to test your hair and urine to determine mercury levels in the body. However, Dr. Maddahi says this is not a true indication because the mercury could be absorbed in the tissues and organs. Instead, he suggests doing a challenge test.
Should You Remove Mercury Fillings?
This is a controversial question for a lot of dentists and health experts. While it may seem like an obvious solution, given the leaching of mercury vapors into our system, the drilling and removal of silver amalgam fillings can cause a significant release of vapors – as much as 100 times more than the you might experience by not removing them – during a very short time period. If the patient is healthy and doing the removal as a precaution, then Dr. Maddahi suggests only doing one quadrant at a time.
Safety During the Removal of Mercury Fillings
Anyone choosing to remove mercury fillings should select a dentist who will take the greatest precautions to reduce the potential exposure to mercury vapors. For example, the patient should be on oxygen so that they are breathing through their nose and not through their mouth during the removal. There should also be a vacuum to capture the filings and aerosol caused by the drilling. And, Dr. Maddahi also gives patients an activated charcoal rinse to coat the gums and stomach which reduces the chances of mercury being absorbed.
What is Biocompatibility Dentistry?
Biocompatibility Dentistry is the matching of dental products to the individual based on sensitivities they may unknowingly have. This process involves doing a Clifford Test prior to dental work that tests the patient’s blood for incapability issues they may have to certain (commonly used) dental materials. This is really important because without it, a patient may get a crown or a veneer using materials they are incompatible with and constantly have issues with and around that tooth (including discoloration, inflammation, pain, and bleeding).
Detecting Infections in Teeth and the Mouth
Aside from mercury fillings, there is another hidden dental issue that can impact overall health – infected teeth or bones in the mouth. Infections can happen inside teeth – especially in the case of a poorly-done root canal. Dr. Maddahi says that these infections have been linked to immunity issues. Detecting this kind of infection can be done using an X-ray or, in some cases, a cone beam scan. Another source of infection is through cavitations in the bone caused by the removal of a tooth. A scan can also help with detecting this.
The first step in solving Emily’s health mystery was for her to see a biological dentist and get some good scans to determine if infections or cavitations may be the culprit. And, to discuss whether removing her silver amalgam fillings might be beneficial. This visit revealed a lot!
While she worked closely with this dentist to address all those issues, I supported her detox pathways with glutathione and binders to make sure she was not absorbing any of the toxins that were being removed from her mouth.
Emily and her dentist took the removal of her silver fillings slow to ensure her body could detox and adjust. She had 10 fillings changed over and had one tooth pulled (a previous root canal had become infected) over the course of 3 months. In that time, she had no detox reactions and noticed an improvement in her energy and brain fog when all the dental work was done.
While doing the dental work, we also began a cleanse with anti-microbial herbs to deal with several infections that we detected through a stool test. Then we healed her gut and replaced the good bacteria with probiotics and Enterovite (please log in to view).
During this time, I also had Emily change her oral hygiene products so we could maintain the microbiome in her gut AND her mouth (more on this in the next episode!) We also worked on better chewing and saliva production.
6 months after we started, Emily’s energy was back to normal, her brain fog was gone and her digestive issues were improved by 75%. We’re continuing to work on balancing her gut and address a few remaining infections to get her to 100%.
The other really cool thing was that her hashimoto’s antibodies dropped by 300 points in these 6 months!
Eliminating Health Mysteries
For Emily we were able to find that missing piece of the health puzzle and help her regain her health. Could this be the missing clue for you or someone in your life?
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