Updated: Mar 15
I have been researching heart disease for quite some time now and I have come across some fascinating things. After all that I found I was not surprised to find a connection between heart health and dental health. What got me interested in the connection between heart disease and the health of the mouth was the experience of Dr. Weston A. Price and the work he did after he lost his son, Donald Price, to a heart attack at a very young age. Dr. Price had performed a root canal on his son when he was 16 years old. Soon after, his son suddenly died of a heart attack. This drove Price to investigate further.
To research this connection, Dr. Price began taking pieces of the infected tooth of his son and placing them under the skin of rabbits. Each time he did this the rabbit would die of a heart attack in about 10-14 days. He repeated this on 100 rabbits and the same thing happened in each one. Price was a meticulous researcher and documenter and aside from his most famous work, his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, where he traveled the world studying the health of traditional living people, he also did experiments on over 60,000 rabbits testing the health of the mouth and it relationship to the health of the body. (1)
The research linking dental health to overall systemic health is plenty, (2,3,4) but I want to specifically discuss the connection between the health of the mouth and the health of the heart. Since Price’s work centered around root canals let’s start there. When someone has an infected tooth, due to, as Price found, a processed carbohydrate diet, then a dentist will recommend a root canal. This procedure consists of drilling out the root of the tooth where the infection is and filling it in with a sealing paste. All good right? Not really. As much as the dentist may try, it is actually impossible to clean out all the bacteria from the infected tooth. There are many dental tubules in the tooth where bacteria can hide. Once you seal of the root canal the bacteria are still in there festering. What we are left with is a piece of dead infected tissue in our mouth. If you ask any surgeon if they would ever leave dead infected tissue in a body, they would tell you absolutely not. Yet, this is what happens with root canals.
What’s worse, is that the very nature of a root canal removes the nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth. This means that the body cannot detect the infection, because there are no nerves, and it cannot mount a response against it, because without a blood supply there is no way to get the immune system to it. What now happens is a slow drainage of these infectious bacteria into the body. This leads to what is called endotoxemia, which basically means that toxins are leaking into the blood stream from within the body. (5) This can happen any time we have a breakdown of a barrier the body has put up, like when we get severe gum disease, (6) damage to our digestive tract causing leaky gut, (7) and of course the root canals we just discussed.
Having bacteria floating around in the body that are not supposed to be there doesn’t sound like a good idea. Diving into the research on this is quite scary as well. Endotoxemia has been shown to cause systemic inflammation and atherosclerosis. (8,9,10,11) Infection has even been shown to induce a heart attack. (12)
The interesting part of this is that the things that cause us to get gum disease are the same things that cause us to get leaky gut. That is a low fat, high carbohydrate diet (13) that is filled with plant toxins, like gluten, that cause leaky gut. (14) When people eat these foods, they can get endotoxemia from a leaky gut, which can cause an autoimmune condition, or they get an infected tooth. The solution for the tooth is for the dentist to do a root canal, which then creates more endotoxemia. The correct approach is to change the diet and prevent these things from happening. But infected teeth and root canals are not the end of the story.
There is another way that we can get an infection in our mouth that can produce endotoxemia. This happens when we have teeth pulled, including wisdom teeth. Again, dentists may think they clean the socket well, but in records of five thousand surgical debridements (cleanings) of cavitations (infections left after removal of a tooth) by Dr. Blanche Grube, only two were found to be healed. If the dentist pulling the tooth does not fully scrape out the periodontoid ligament and then sterilize the socket with ozonated water, then the infection called a cavitation can develop within the jaw. This happens because if the periodontoid ligament is left in, the body never gets the signal to come in and sterilize the area. Similar to a root canal, because the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are gone, over time the body cannot detect or fight off the cavitation. This will also result in toxic bacteria leaking into the body.
For the best approach to a root canal or to have teeth pulled, or the clean-up of poorly done treatments of these things, I highly recommend getting to a dentist who is knowledgeable (most are not) about all these pathologies and can help you with the health of your mouth. I suggested getting all cavitations opened up and cleaned out properly, as well as the removal and cleaning out of all root canal teeth and replacing them with a non-toxic implant. These can be expensive procedures and not everyone may be able to afford to do them, but there is something we can do to help protect ourselves from the endotoxic bacteria until we are able to get our dental health in order.
I have written about the many benefits of cholesterol in our body before. One of the most amazing things it can do is protect us from infection. This is why, throughout history, those with genetically high cholesterol, familial hypercholesterolemia, have been shown to have a protective advantage from infection. (15) This happens because LDL can bind and neutralize infectious bacteria. (16,17) If you follow my blog you know that cholesterol does not cause heart disease and this binding of infectious bacteria is one of many benefits that cholesterol has in the body.
Now, we must move on to the other side of dental health that is so pertinent when is comes to heart health. That is heavy metals. The concerns with the dental use of amalgam (mercury) to fill cavities was first exposed in 1840, yet there are still dentists who place these filling in people today. In 1975, the “state of the art” high-copper fillings were implemented into practice. Aside from observations like those of Dr. Hal Huggins, who noticed an increase in autoimmune incidence in his practice after using these, research has shown that the high-copper fillings release fifty times more mercury into the body than the previous amalgam that was used. (18)
Heavy metals like lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and arsenic have been shown to cause all kinds of damage and dysfunction in the body. (19,20) This makes sense because they were deposited in the Earth billions of years ago and our physiology evolved without there presence. It is only in the last 200 years or so that we started mining them out of the ground and exposing ourselves (putting them in our mouths!) to them. Mercury in the body has been directly linked to the amount and severity of atherosclerosis someone has. (21)
If you have silver looking fillings in your mouth it is best to get them removed and replaced. You must go to a dentist who is certified to do this in a safe way as drilling out mercury in teeth can expose you to a lot of it and steps need to be taken to avoid that exposure. If you go to www.hugginsappliedhealing.com they can help you find a knowledgeable dentist near you.
Talk of lipid panels, saturated fat, and cholesterol has dominated the discussion of heart disease for a very long time. But this breakdown in normal physiology is not caused by one thing, no disease is. I would even argue that cholesterol does not contribute to heart disease at all. For the last 70 years we have been looking for the cause of heart disease in a dark room, but we have only been looking under the light of the spotlight lamp in the room and have totally missed all the other signs of what causes this disease that are over in the dark area of the room.
The health of the mouth is very important to the health of the body. Which make sense because the body is not isolated compartments but one interconnect functioning entity. To take care of your mouth it is important to eat a whole foods ketogenic diet with plenty of properly raised animal foods. This will keep your heart healthy and protect you from developing the issues in the mouth that contribute to heart disease.
Stay healthy our there!
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