The Heart Health-Dental Health Connection
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
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.