The character or beliefs of the scientist are irrelevant; all that matters is whether the evidence supports his contention. Arguments from authority simply do not count; too many authorities have been mistaken too often.
-Carl Sagan C., from Broca’s Brain
Mercury contained in dental restorations is hazardous to the human body. Conventional dental authorities in North America and Britain are frantically attempting to defuse the mercury amalgam toxicity issue by ignoring the existence of voluminous amounts of scientific research. Persistent denial of the dangers of mercury in dental fillings comes in the form of written pronouncements and angry attacks on the media by ivory tower heads of dental associations. Contrary to their wishes, the concern about mercury amalgams refuses to die.
Despite the fact that over 100 published scientific papers directly implicate mercury released from amalgam restorations as a major contributing factor in chronic illness, groups like the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) refuse to acknowledge their existence. It should be noted that no government or professional agency has ever shown that mercury in dental amalgams is safe. This includes the American Dental Association (ADA), the CDA, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and the Canadian health Protection Branch (HPB). In its reactionary attitude, the ADA has even published literature which threatens that any dentist who removes amalgam restorations due to mercury toxicity is to be considered unethical.
One American dental group, namely the American Academy of Head, Neck and Facial Pain, has decided to take a stand against the ADA and its outdated policy on mercury dental fillings. According to some of their recent literature, this group states, “We feel the evidence is too overwhelming to continue to practice in ignorance and avoidance of the facts. The Board of Directors, under the name of our Academy, has written a petition to several agencies (the FDA, OSHA, NIH, NIDR, U.S. Public health Service and the National Institute of Environmental health Services) asking that all past and current scientific literature concerning mercury and dental amalgams be reevaluated.”
What is the evidence incriminating the mercury dental filling? The following are documented facts about mercury amalgam toxicity taken from the scientific literature:
1) Mercury damages DNA, alters the structure of proteins, disrupts the communication between cells, induces free radical tissue damage and inhibits antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase. Mercury from a single dental filling (nanogram amounts are all that are required) is enough to inhibit the activity of white blood cells. Mercury can indirectly increase antibiotic-resistant oral and intestinal bacteria, impair kidney function and induce autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Several neurological diseases are linked to mercury hypersensitivity or toxicity including Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Eight of the eleven symptom criteria set by the Center for Disease Control for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are well-known symptoms of mercury poisoning. The World health Organization (WHO) has recently stated that: “it is not scientifically possible to set a level for mercury in blood or urine below which mercury-related symptoms will not occur.” The medical literature reports a long list of signs and symptoms alleviated by replacement of mercury dental fillings including allergies, gastrointestinal problems of all types, tension headaches, migraine headaches, unexplained hair loss in women, eczema, asthma, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Parkinson’s Disease and urinary tract problems.
2) Mercury is continually released in the mouth from amalgam restorations. Those with amalgam fillings have an average mercury vapour concentration 10 times higher than people without such fillings. Chewing gum, brushing teeth and drinking hot beverages all increase mercury release.
3) Mercury vapours from dental amalgams absorb directly into the blood and practically all body tissues including the oral cavity, the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. Mercury fillings in pregnant women also affect the growing fetus. Within three days of placing amalgam fillings in pregnant sheep, mercury shows up in the placenta of their babies. One study showed that around the time of birth, most fetal tissue had higher levels of mercury than that of the mothers. Mercury amalgams may affect fertility. Autopsies done on aborted human babies found that mercury levels in the brain, liver and kidney correlated significantly with the number of amalgam fillings in their mothers.
4) Mercury levels in the blood, urine, brain, nerves, endocrine glands and kidneys increase in direct proportion to the number of amalgam restorations present in the mouth. Studies indicate that 80% of inhaled mercury vapour is absorbed into the bloodstream. There is a direct transport of mercury through the peripheral nerves and into the central nervous system. Autopsy studies reveal statistically significant correlations between measured mercury tissue concentrations and the number of amalgam fillings.
5) Dentists who use mercury amalgam restorations have detectable tissue levels of mercury and measurable biological dysfunction in the form of polyneuropathies. They also have double the number of brain tumors and perform less well with respect to neurological function tests than dentists not using mercury. According to several studies, the higher the exposure to mercury, the worse the performance on the neurological tests. Subtle losses of manual dexterity and concentration have been documented as have abnormal psychiatric behaviours. The saying most often associated with mercury poisoning, “mad as a hatter” is not without merit. It is unfortunate that it is increasingly being associated with dentists.
6) Based on extensive scientific documentation, several world governments (e.g. Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway) have either banned the use of mercury dental amalgams outright or severely curtailed their use, especially in pregnant women or those with kidney problems.
7) Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s but there is also a great deal of evidence for an association between mercury and Alzheimer’s. Mercury levels are elevated in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients compared to controls. Aluminum is not. Mercury causes Alzheimer’s-like changes in rat brain cells at levels similar to those found in monkeys with amalgam fillings. Mercury in human brain tissue has been shown to be correlated with the number of amalgam fillings.
DENTISTS AND DOUBLE TALK
The safety of mercury-containing dental amalgams has never been proven in long-term clinical trials with control groups receiving different treatment. Where are the double-blind placebo-controlled studies on dental amalgam safety? Bluntly speaking, mercury dental amalgams are unsafe and unproven therapy. Mainstream dental dogma dictates that any unproven treatment be labelled as quackery. Yet, supposedly scientific groups like the ADA and the CDA declare that amalgams are safe for all but 3% of the population which has an allergy or sensitivity to mercury. Based on actual scientific research, this is nonsense.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
A growing number of dentists are ignoring the irresponsible edicts of dinosaur dental associations and have decided to work without mercury for the health protection of both themselves and their patients. Mercury is a toxic substance in any amount. It does not belong in your mouth. Find a dentist that acknowledges this fact and works without mercury. Those ugly black fillings can be replaced by inert non-metal composite or porcelain fillings that are not only safer but look cosmetically better.
It must be stressed that the removal and replacement of amalgam fillings releases mercury vapours and can worsen symptoms, especially in highly sensitive individuals like those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or severe environmental hypersensitivity syndromes (e.g. 20th Century Disease). Some individuals should therefore not consider replacing mercury fillings at all or only very carefully on the advice of their natural health care practitioner or medical specialist.
To prevent or offset mercury damage from the replacement of dental amalgams, one can follow a high fiber diet, eat more garlic and onions, drink distilled water and supplement with high doses of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, vitamin E, aloe vera juice, green drinks like barley green, chlorella, spirulina, blue green algae and high sulfur containing amino acids like cysteine, methionine, N-acetyl-cysteine and glutathione. Diatomaceous Earth is also a great way to absorb heavy metals and other toxins from the digestive tract. This regimen is also acceptable as a way of preventing free radical damage to the body by any toxic heavy metal including mercury.
To find a dentist in your area who knows about mercury alternatives, contact one of these organizations for a referral:
Consumer health Organization of Canada, 280 Sheppard Ave. E., #207, P.O. Box 248, Willowdale, Ont., M2N 5S9; 416-222-6517.
DAMS (Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome) – newsletter and other information dedicated to informing the public about the potential risks of mercury in dental amalgam fillings. 725-9 Tramway Lane NE, Albuquerque, NM 87122; 505-291-8239; fax:505-294-3339.
Environmental Dental Association, 9974 Scripps Ranch Blvd., Suite #36, San Diego, CA, 92131; 619-586-1208; fax:619-693-0724; educational, research, referral and other resources for non-toxic dentistry.
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