The Coastal Post - May, 1998

Mercury In Your Mouth Goes Retrograde In Your Body

By Stephen Simac

The metal in your mouth is migrating into your body and brain. Mercury/silver amalgam fillings leach toxic mercury into your bloodstream and central nervous system.

The connection between mercury poisoning and illness is well known in the West since the 1600s when the medical doctors were dispensing quicksilver salves and potions for syphilis. In China, the toxicity of "cinnabar" was written about a thousand years before that, but it was still treasured by doctors and alchemists there.

Mining and hat-making, which use mercury in their processing, made mad hatters and claw-hand miners from the metal.

The medically-educated doctors with their poisonous potions became known as "Quacksilvers," and then just quacks. Now they call healers who don't use toxic medicine quacks.

Bass fishing gone bad

The medical industry doesn't dispense mercury as readily now, but it is still ubiquitous in our environment. When the fish eaters around Lake Michigan and Japanese industrial bays in the '70s had increased birth deformities and claw hands and feet, it was easy to trace the poison to mercury released by steel and other industries.

Those were cleaned up or shut down, but mercury poisoning still continues. The fish in the Everglades are now too toxic to eat. Mercury from sugar cane and lawn sod fertilizers has poisoned an eons-old food system. Humans have eaten the fish in the Everglades for 10,000 years; now large signs say No More.

Gold mines which use mercury to separate out gold from ore have recently poisoned whole rivers in New Guinea and Columbia when their holding ponds spilled.

Don't drink the thermometer

Mercury is known to damage the kidneys, liver, digestive system and central nervous system at low levels. Brain function is impaired and high levels cause madness at the afternoon tea.

What's a little mercury in your mouth when it's toxic at parts per billion and is one of the most volatile metals known. From 10 to 180 micrograms daily have been measured to vaporize in a mouth. Some is excreted, more if you have selenium and vitamin C in your diet or take them.

Why worry about a substance which is known to leach out in gas form and has proven ability to interfere with nerve and muscle function, organs and brain tissue? The best scientists in Europe, Canada and the United States have each studied this and found no relation between health problems and mercury fillings except in sensitive people. Pregnant women and children count as sensitive in Europe and Canada, but not in the United States.

Even with trial insurance experts agreeing there's no need to worry, Sweden and Denmark chose to ban mercury amalgam fillings.

Little shop of horrors

The American Dental Association, which also requires toxic fluoride to be added to toothpaste to gain it's seal of approval, approves of amalgam fillings.

Fluoride has one known health benefit: at low levels in children's diets or water while their permanent teeth are forming, it prevents cavities. Without cavities, there's no mercury fillings in your mouth.

Too much fluoride can cause as many health problems as too much mercury, according to a growing chorus of researchers. Fluoride is blamed for everything from attention deficit disorder to nymphomania in teens. Mercury gets rapped for asthma to high blood pressure.

There is more conclusive evidence for fluoride causing negative health effects from lowered IQs to increased bone fractures than for mercury fillings.

This is slippery as quicksilver to pin down, but in one study 80% of 118 patients who had their fillings replaced reported reduced fatigue, irritability, poor memory and metallic taste-all symptoms of mercury poisoning.

Fillings, of course, are better than losing your teeth or getting a root canal and crown.

Tooth and claw

There are other choices than expensive gold or silver/mercury fillings. Many dentists are using resins mixed with ground-up quartz for fillings. Some of these resins can cause allergic reactions in some people.

The dentists who specialize in removing mercury fillings usually test for biocompatibility of the patient with different choices of composites. They also pay careful attention to ventilation and removal to avoid releasing large amounts of mercury in the extraction.

Some even have specially ventilated rooms just for these procedures. At the very least, your dentist should use a dental dam and suction hose and replace them gradually, one or two at a time. It's a good idea to remove old fillings anyway before they fall out.

The ADA does not approve of dentists making health claims for removing mercury fillings and has prosecuted dentists who have done so. In some ways, this dates back to dentists' feelings of inferiority to doctors since they were barber tooth pullers. They also don't want to tread on the American Medical Association territory by linking dental care with health care, although it's obvious they are.

The dentists' association is neutral on replacing fillings for cosmetic purposes. The color of the resins can match the tooth, unlike the blackened mercury silver fillings.

Wooden teeth across the water

The ADA doesn't want to admit culpability in placing up to 50% mercury amalgam fillings in our mouths. When amalgam became popular in the early 1800s, the largest dentist association of that age refused to use them, sticking with gold. Their prices led droves of patients to dentists who would use the cheap substitute. These dentists later formed the ADA.

At the time, there weren't other affordable choices. Cheap fillings are definitely less harmful than rotting holes in your teeth or even just yanking them out.

But now that there are other choices, they have chosen to ignore and even suppress the mounting evidence against the use of mercury in tooth fillings.

A little nitrous, my dear?

Hundreds of case studies of various illnesses being cured or symptomatically alleviated by filling replacement have been documented by these dentists and doctors who work with them. Of course, they have a vested interest in promoting their work, but their patients do feel better and sometimes have remarkable cures for difficult diseases.

Placebo effect can explain some of the benefits, and it's possible that most people suffer no ill effects from mercury in their mouth, but given the known toxicity of the metal and it's volatility, that is unlikely.

Our teeth have many subtle effects on health and well-being. Symbolically we bite into something we really want, chew on it to understand it, grind them when angry, set them when we stand our ground.

The Chinese physicians have traced out each tooth's connection to different organs and energy meridians and use dental health for diagnostic purposes.

Teeth are the first step to digestion and nourishment from our food. Our smiles reveal our fangs-see, no large weapons, I'm friendly.

Dental Care is Health Care. Putting poisonous metals in our mouths cannot be healthy, even if the studies are inconclusive. The bias of many studies are becoming clearer: First, do no harm economically to the producers and sellers of toxic substances.

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