The Dangers of Root Canals

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Root Canals Cover

The Dangers of Root Canals

An increasing amount of scientific evidence continues to validate concerns that oral health is significantly correlated with systemic, whole body health. Unjustly known in the conventional medical community for his seemingly outrageous medical thoughts and research in dentistry, Dr. Weston Price well understood the dangers of root canals and their link to chronic systemic disease before the World Health Organization (WHO) began to even question the relationship between oral health and whole body function.

It is now believed that root canals can serve as the primary sites of infection which can seep into other tissues in the body causing lowered immunity and chronic disease. Could your root canal be causing your chronic health problems?


What is a Root Canal?

The nerve beneath a tooth can become infected or damaged as a result of plaque buildup, tooth erosion or gum disease for instance. A root canal procedure involves drilling into the tooth so that the nerve and dental decay can be removed.

A chemical solution is used to sterilize the infected area which is then tightly sealed back up. In theory, the sterilization process is designed to completely remove any bacteria capable of causing infection. But is this possible? (6)

The American Dental Association claims that there is lacking scientific evidence behind the association that root canals can cause major health risks (6). Unfortunately, this is true that there are currently no accurate tests which show that root canals are without a doubt the cause of a specific health problem. However, just because a suspect tossed the gun does not imply he did not pull the trigger.


Root Canals Promote Secondary Infections

Ranging from false assumptions to medical error, there is a significant risk of secondary infections as well as the possible requirement of further root canals following the first. As a consequence, a root canal does not guarantee a solution but rather the delay of more significant health problems.

Unfortunately, X-ray images cannot help dentist provide greater insight into detecting infections because the tooth will appear normal and otherwise healthy (7).

Sanitization is Not Possible

The underlying problem with root canals originates from the misunderstanding that microbes, fungi and viruses can be eradicated from the tooth and gums with 100% effectiveness. Recent research confirms findings from over 100 years ago that these infective agents are secluded in up to 3 miles of microscopic tubules of the tooth and gums which remains out of reach and unexposed to sanitizing solutions (3).

A commonly used disinfectant, sodium hypochlorite, was tested to determine how much bacterial residue was left behind a treated area. Scientists found that up to 50% of the bacteria population remained following the sanitizing process.

Despite dentists’ best efforts to follow safe and effective sterilization techniques and maintain a clean surgical environment, human error is also partly to blame for the exposure of bacteria and cause of secondary health complications. (6)

Root Canals Foster Harmful Bacteria

Furthermore, an oxygen free environment is the perfect brewing spot for anaerobic bacteria to thrive when dentist seal off the treated area. These bacteria harbor toxins which can leak into surrounding tissue and pick up a free ride to any location in the body.

As a result, until the anaerobic bacteria are removed and toxins are eliminated, an individual’s systemic or whole body functioning is susceptible to compromise. A recent study indicates that 87 patients whose health conditions were monitored for three years following a root canal procedure experienced deteriorating health symptoms. (3, 7)

In the image below you will see a study published in the root canal specialists (Endodontists) journal.  The authors of the study took individuals who were preparing to have their wisdom teeth extracted.

They did a root canal on one side and then removed both wisdom teeth in three months.  The study showed that the tooth without the root canal had only 1% of its tubules infected. However, the tooth that had a root canal three months earlier had 39% of the tubules infected (12).


Antibiotics Can Cause Drug Resistance

Another medical tool utilized as a preventative mechanism at eliminating further infection comes with your doctor’s autograph for a prescribed antibiotic. In a prescription happy modern society, root canals are just another example of the improper use of antibiotics.

With no circulation and blood flow reaching the sealed off area or the miles of tubules fostering microorganisms, infectious agents are safe from the antibiotic’s threat. As a result, the antibiotic you are consuming intended to kill off the harmful bacteria in your mouth is taking a detrimental toll on decreasing the populations of good bacteria in the rest of your body which are required to boost your immunity and fight off sickness on your own. (3, 7)

As a result of this over prescribed use of antibiotics, there are a variety of strains of harmful bacteria that are not only antibiotic resistant but also pose life threatening risks. Some of the most common types of bacteria associated with infections from root canals are: (6)

Enterococcus feacalis: Presence of these bacteria are often the cause of urinary tract infections, meningitis and is also one of the most antibiotic resistant bacteria known. These bacteria are thought to stimulate the production of toxins and further infections in the entire body.

Pseudomonas: Some strains of these bacteria are antibiotic resistant and can ultimately cause death. Symptoms associated are a weakened immune system, pneumonia and blood infections.

Staphylococci: Commonly referred to as staph, these bacteria cause skin infections, pneumonia, blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome.

Streptococci: Some strains of these bacteria can be referred to as flesh eating bacteria. This bacterium is linked to symptoms related to strep throat and serious health complications involving pain, fever, swelling, dizziness, rash, confusion, abnormal blood pressure and toxic shock syndrome.

Toxins Can Cause Systemic Dysfunction

Dr. Meinig, one of the original founding members of the Root Canal Association, commented on an interesting study performed by Dr. Weston Price back in in the early 1900s that even today perplexes some doctors. Dr. Price and his research team found that implanting an infected tooth from a human to another animal would cause the same systemic complications to that animal as the human was suffering from (7).

Based off of 25 years of Dr. Price’s research and the further knowledge that we have obtained today, the evidence that root canals can and do cause systemic dysfunction seems well beyond lacking as the American Dental Association claims.

Dr. Meinig clarifies that the cause of secondary health symptoms is not only directly dependent on the presence of bacteria, but also the production of toxins produced from the bacteria. In fact, Dr. Price ran well controlled experiments contrary to popular medical rumors and discovered that animals infected with the toxins alone had a significantly higher rate of becoming sick and dying.

If one of the strongest supporters of root canals can reevaluate his previous understanding of oral health and chronic disease, why are most dentists slow to recognize the association between the two? (7, 11)


Root Canals and Degenerative Disease

According to the work performed by Dr. Price and his team, there are specific chronic and degenerative diseases that stood out in greater prevalence than other illnesses. In order of the highest risks found associated with root canals are: (7)

  1. Heart and Circulatory Disease
  2. Inflammation in the body found in arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  3. Brain and Nervous System Diseases

The next greatest risk associated with root canals following diseases of the brain and nervous system are problems associated with any type of health complication an individual can suffer from. These problems might include adverse health responses such as lowered immunity and diabetes.

root canal

Root Canals Lower Immunity

One of the easiest assumptions for an individual to make is that if a healthy person has a root canal and does not experience any health complications, root canals cannot be to blame for the deterioration of health. Unfortunately, this assumption has one limiting factor: time.

Dr. Meinig further comments in an interview that some individual’s immune systems may be better equipped to manage the bacteria and the released toxins (7). Over time, just like exhausting any other natural defense system you can think of whether it be armed forces or a physical barricade, the defense system will become weakened and eventually destroyed.

It is inevitable that infectious agents will maneuver their way to other organs in the body and may manifest their symptoms in chronic diseases which can lead to death if left untreated.


Root Canals Increase Risk of Diabetes

Although type-2 diabetes has not yet been directly determined to be a result of infections following root canal procedures, there is mounting evidence that the risks of developing type-2 diabetes increases. Intricately woven into the healthy functioning of the human body’s immune system, type-2 diabetes is a known disease related to inflammation in the body and has been directly contributed to periodontal disease and tooth loss. (11)

Don’t let a root canal be the cause of your health problems. Take the following steps to improving your oral health care today.

Care Tips to Improve Your Oral Health

Preventing the deterioration of your teeth and gums is first and most important to reducing your risks of chronic diseases linked to poor oral health. The following are some common strategies you should already be well aware of in caring for your teeth and gums. (9, 11)

  • Brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day and flossing daily
  • Visit the dentist as recommended by your doctor
  • Replace your toothbrush once the bristles become frayed or at least every 3 or 4 months
  • Use a tongue scraper to remove dead cells and bacteria which cause bad breath
  • Brush using a nontoxic toothpaste free of fluoride and chemical additives
  • Limit acidic foods and beverages in your diet by removing soda altogether and replacing it with purified water
  • Consume a healthy diet rich in whole food sources and nutrients


Ayurveda Oral Health Care Tips

Some preventative methods at maintaining the health of your teeth and gums may be new to you but stem from a traditional style of medicine that dates back to over 3,000 years ago in India (8).

Ayurveda medicine is a holistic health system suggested to prevent and heal an estimated 30 systemic diseases that result from deteriorating dental hygiene (8). Some members of the medical community compare its benefits similar to that of reflexology in which the tongue has a specific location that can stimulate either harm or healing abilities to a distant organ in the body.

Oil Pulling Benefits Oral Health Care

The practice of oil pulling may sound unappealing but is a very simple practice which is claimed to cure headache, asthma and is a remedy for bleeding gums, dull senses including taste and vision, sore throat, and tooth decay. Although sesame oil is known as the Queen of Seed Crops for its health benefits, sunflower oil has also been traditionally as well as coconut oil. (8, 9)

Compared to standard mouthwash, oil pulling practices using sesame oil actually was found to significantly prevent against plaque-induced gingivitis by decreasing plaque and bacteria. Two methods are referred to often in oil pulling practices and can be used on a daily basis: (8).

Graha Gandusha: In this style of oil pulling, the mouth is completely filled with oil and held for up to 5 minutes without gargling.

Kavala Graha: If expanding your cheeks for up to 5 minutes while holding liquid is uncomfortable or cannot be done, Kavala Graha involves filling the mouth with only enough oil to be swished throughout your teeth and gums for 3 minutes.

Essential Oils Benefit Oral Health Care

Have you ever thought to dip your floss in essential oils for added antibacterial and antifungal properties? Using a 100% pure and therapeutic grade of essential oil from a trusted supplier, rub a drop of tea tree oil or peppermint oil along a strand of floss to receive its many health benefits.

Experiencing pain and swelling in teeth or gums? Clove oil acts as a topical anesthetic. Ditch the chemically derived orajel products containing benzocaine and switch to a natural pain remedy proven to be just as effective as its conventional and toxic alternative. (2, 4)

The natural oils found in herbs are another great source at preventing microbial diseases in the oral cavity. Herbal tooth gels have been shown to provide the same effectiveness as fluoride in eliminating carcinogenic bacteria and contain no adverse health consequences following use.

Aside from clove, peppermint and tea tree oil, other herbs such as neem, liquorice root, cinnamon, turmeric root and parsley have antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral properties. (5, 8)


Probiotics Benefit Oral Health Care

Along with supplementing your cooking with added herbs, benefit from consuming probiotic rich foods and beverages such as sauerkraut and Kombucha to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria (5, 9). Healthy bacteria support dental hygiene by improving the pH balance. Consider the following example to explain how acidic the environment in your mouth may be.

In the morning you might consume a single cup of coffee on your commute into work. You have an orange for a snack later in the morning followed up with pasta leftovers from dinner the night before. To get you through the afternoon energy lull you indulge in a sugary treat to get you to the 5’oclock hour.

On the commute home you snack on trail mix to satisfy your hunger pains until dinner. Before dinner, your teeth and gums have already spent the day soaking in an acidic environment which encourages the growth of bad bacteria, plaque buildup and dental decay.

Supplementing your diet with probiotic foods and beverages will feed the good bacteria in your oral cavity and provide your mouth with the weaponry it needs to prevent tooth decay.

Green Tea Benefits Oral Health Care

Unlike any other herbal tea, green tea has a natural compound known as catechins. Catechins are a type of polyphenol which is not only a micronutrient found in our diet but a powerful antioxidant. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that benefit both oral and overall health.

Studies have shown that those who consume 2 cups of green tea per day have lower levels of the bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) as well as lower levels of total cholesterol. Green tea may reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 33% as well as prevent obesity (9).

Directly correlating tooth loss with cardiovascular complications, individuals with missing teeth were up to 76% more likely of developing a heart attack compared to those with most or all of their teeth (10).

An even more amazing study found that individuals who consumed tobacco products (both smoke and smokeless products) and drank green tea regularly had a lower risk of developing cancer than the tobacco users who did not consume the tea. (9)


Find A Holistic Dentist Near You

Not already seeing a holistic dentist, find one near you trusted to ensure your optimal health. Visit the IAOMT page here to search for accredited members of the IAOMT whom are trained in holistic dentistry (1).

You can also visit the Holistic Dental Association using the link here to view the profiles of these dentists and learn about the services they provide (2).  These dentists are trained in natural strategies to help you remove root canals and improve your oral health.


Sources From This Article Include:

1. IAOMT: Link Here
2. HDA: Link Here
3. Nunnally SM. In Vitro Enzymatic Inhibition Associated with Asymptomatic Root Canal Treated Teeth: Results from a Sample of 25 Extracted Root Fragments. JOM. 2012;27(3)112-116. Link Here
4. Alqareer A, et al. The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics. J Dent. 2006 Nov;34(10):747-50. PMID: 16530911
5. Mohankumar KP, et al. Anti Cariogenic Efficacy of Herbal and Conventional Tooth Pastes – A Comparative In-Vitro Study. J Int Oral Health. 2013 Apr;5(2):8-13. PMCID: 3768065
6. Tennert C, et al. Effect of photodynamic therapy (PDT) on Enterococcus faecalis biofilm in experimental primary and secondary endodontic infections. BMC Oral Health. 2014 Nov;14:132. PMCID: 4236465
7. CureZone: Root Canals Pose Health Threat Link Here
8. Singh A, and Purohit B. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Apr;2(2):64-68. PMCID: 3131773
9. Wierzejska R. Tea and health- a review of the current state of knowledge. Przegl Epidemiol. 2014;68(3):501-6. PMID: 25391016
10. Oluwagbemigun K, et al. Association between Number of Teeth and Chronic Systemic Diseases: A Cohort Study Followed for 13 Years. PLoS One. 2015;10(5):e0123879. PMCID: 4422697
11. Petersen PE. World Health Organization global policy for improvement of oral health- World Health Assembly 2007. International Dental Journal. 2008. 58:115-121. Link Here
12. Nagaoka S, Miyazaki Y, Liu HJ, Iwamoto Y, Kitano M, Kawagoe M. Bacterial invasion into dentinal tubules of human vital and nonvital teeth. J Endod. 1995 Feb;21(2):70-3. PMID:7714440

Other Sources Include:


Dr. Jockers

Dr. David Jockers is a doctor of natural medicine, functional nutritionist and corrective care chiropractor. He currently owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia. He has developed 6 revolutionary online programs with thousands of participants.



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  1. What if you already have a root canal, what now?
    It’s causing problems so is it better to remove the tooth completely? What does one do if you already have one in place and are struggling with health issues that are most likely connected to having that infection in your mouth all the time?

  2. Hey Elaine,

    I would advise you to look for a holistic dentist in your area to help you with your oral health. I am not a dentist, so they would know the best route for you much better than I. However, I would also recommend following much of the health advise you can find on our site.

  3. Yes, I agree with Elaine. I have to do something about getting rid of two root canals in my upper mouth, however I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure if I can stand dentures although I already have a partial which goes across the roof of my mouth and is VERY annoying. I was considering implants but would imagine you’d be facing the same problems with them. What is your take on implants vs. dentures, Dr. Jocker? I know you are not a dentist but your article shows you know a lot about oral health and it’s effects on overall health. BTW, holistic dentists are nowhere to be found where I live. Thanks. Andrea K

  4. I was wondering if you have a list of biological dentists in the southeastern US. I live in southeast Alabama and would like to find one within driving distance. Thanks

  5. I went to the dentist for a routine teeth cleaning and check. About 4 days later started with many odd symptoms that escalated into a few weeks later with several trips to the ER. There I was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrom. I feel in my gut it was caused by the teeth cleaning. I feel I’m not being taken seariously and now i’m fighting to get my life back.

  6. Dr Jockers,

    I have had MANY root canals over the years, and I have several crowns and a bridge. I can’t afford to have any major dental work done, or see a functional doctor, as I have NO health insurance.

    I eat and supplement very similar to your lifestyle plans on this site, but is it enough? I’ve been eating well and supplementing wisely for years now, but I still can’t lose that last 30 pounds, and I still don’t feel 100% well yet. Thank you.

  7. had a root canal and they struggled with the infection, I’ve since been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I’m sure they’re linked, has this happened to anyone else?

    1. My uncle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease several years ago. Anytime I talk to my grandmother (his mom) about it she always says, “You know, Uncle had that really bad tooth infection right before all this happened. I think that had something to do with it.”

      I’m sorry for your troubles but it’s interesting to read that someone else has a similar experience.

  8. I think that if you are going to put out an alarming article like this you should have some solutions or reccomendations for those millions of people that don’t have the finanacil means to see a holistic dentist. In addition for those that already have a root canal you are instilling fear that can be just as detrimental to their well being as a root canal. I am a health coach but I think you have to be careful about scaring people.

    1. I agree here Lisa. I’ve been an ND in clinical practice and know many people who HAVE had successful root canal therapy performed by very skilled clinicians. There are many people with root canals in great health, I’ve personally seen this in clinical practice. But, there are probably more people out there who have had bad dental work performed on them resulting in very poor root canal work, and then you could expect issues down the road ranging from mild to the very extreme. Same goes for any medical procedure or treatment. Fear mongering is rife online with many websites now unfortunately. I’d rather see a patient get a root canal done expertly and keep the tooth rather than have it pulled. Eating/chewing properly is critical for great GI and overall health. I’ve also seen very poor advice given to people by chiropractors and naturopaths, resulting in very poor clinical outcomes regardless of their dental status. We need to be careful not to fear monger people.

  9. Dr. Jockers,
    I had 1 root canal some 20 years ago. Never seemingly had a problem. About 12 years ago , I was experiencing pain and burning in my feet. My doctor said I had Neuropathy. Could that root canal 20 yrs ago have anything to do with my problem. I have since had another root canal, 3 yrs. ago and it has remained tender even after several x-rays, a new crown and routine cleaning. I am very concerned after reading your comments and would be most interested in knowing what you think. What should I have done to this tooth in your opinion?

    Thanks so much for your advice,
    Mary Brewton

    1. Hi Mary,
      You need to get a second opinion and a good set of X-rays on this suspect tooth, it sounds like a residual infection at the tip of the root. The root canal needs to be re-done, and properly this time! Either that or a dental implant depending on your finances. Tenderness means infection, and infection is not good long-term. It is highly unlikely the 20 year old root canal had much to do with your neuropathy, especially if the neuropathy came eight years after that root canal.

      1. Ms. Bakker,
        I was wondering if you watched “The Root Cause” documentary, and if so, do you really still remain non-convinced that there simply isn’t such thing in this universe as a “successfully done root canal”? It is merely irresponsible on your end to advise someone to “re-do” their old root canal. If we, General Public, can’t count on NDs to help spearhead the stoppage of the root-canal epidemics while all of the clear clinical data out there shows undeniable linkage of root canals (“successful” or not) to cancers, heart disease, neuro and autoimmune conditions, then we are really in trouble.
        With the estimated 25000000 new root canals every year in the USA no wonder we are falling further and further down among developing countries in terms of our general health and life expectancy.

  10. Hello.
    I was told I needed a root canal on my wisdom tooth. Now, I have lost most of my molars so it’s hard to eat and that is why the dentist is trying to safe it. I already have health issues,: scoliosis, bulging and degenerate on L4,5,6, and other problems not solved yet. Is it wise to go ahead and do a root canal?

  11. Do these risks apply to all root canal procedures or only those done improperly? I have a tooth that requires a root canal and I am so conflicted- should I just have it extracted or can a root canal be performed by an IAOMT dentist without adverse effects? Will extraction prevent future issues or are there risks associated with that also? Thanks!

    1. The risk is always there as the microtubules in the tooth bed are extremely hard to reach and sanitize. An IAOMT may have a better approach for this but oil pulling, colloidal silver, and proper oral hygeine can all be great!

  12. Interesting article, There isn’t a mention on removing the root canal tooth and if this will solve the problem though. Are there any studies or information on people having root canal teeth removed and seemingly unrelated health problems disappearing? Or is it too late once the bacteria are in there?

    1. Hey Stephen, there are many dentists who can safely remove and clean the tooth. Keeping up with good oral hygiene as discussed above (especially oil pulling) will help keep bacteria controlled!

  13. Hi, I am a 21 year old girl and had a root canal done when I was about 15. I have had endless problems with energy, digestion, skin and general immune system problems for the past 4 years. I do not have any pain or anything around the root canal tooth but am considering getting it extracted in 3 weeks time and getting a small partial denture. I am very very nervous to be making a mistake. Do you think the root canal be the cause of my health problems even though I have no pain or swelling? I follow a nutrient dense healthy diet and have tried everything I could try and haven’t got better. Pretty desperate but don’t want to make a mistake and have a denture for the rest of my life.
    By the way, thank you for the article!

  14. I have left jaw pain a dear pain had a root canal in upper left side could that mean I have an infection in my root canal?

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