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.
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)
- Heart and Circulatory Disease
- Inflammation in the body found in arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- 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 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.
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:
- IAOMT: Link Here
- HDA: Link Here
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- CureZone: Root Canals Pose Health Threat Link Here
- 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
- Wierzejska R. Tea and health- a review of the current state of knowledge. Przegl Epidemiol. 2014;68(3):501-6. PMID: 25391016
- 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
- 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
- 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: