Articles from Dr. Tom McGuire's Mercury-Safe Dentist Newsletter
In my Mercury-Safe Dentist Newsletter I introduce articles that are found on this page. This is where you go when you link from an article on the newsletter. To access an article simply click on the title of the article.
Name of Article
Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe: There is a Significant Difference between the Two?
Marketing and Growing a Mercury-Safe Practice
Mercury-Safe Dentistry & Amalgam Fillings as a Health Hazard: Two Separate Issues
Utilizing The Poison in Your Teeth to Attract New Patients!
Dr. Tom McGuire's Books on Amalgam Fillings, Oral Hygiene and Mercury Detoxification
The Relationship of Oral to Overall Health: What the Health Practitioner Must Know
FDA Statement on the Safety of Amalgam Fillings
Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe: There is a Significant Difference between the Two!
If you use safe protocols for removing amalgam fillings it is no longer enough just to promote your practice as being mercury-free! Why? Strictly speaking, the term “mercury-free” really means amalgam-free and refers to dentists who do not put mercury amalgam (silver) fillings in their patients’ teeth.
Until recently the term mercury-free was also used to signify dentists who not only didn’t put amalgam fillings into their patients teeth, but who also utilized a protocol designed to safely remove them. However, times have changed significantly and the term mercury-free can no longer be used to accurately describe dentists who also safely remove amalgams. Why? Because today more and more dentists are calling themselves mercury-free - but are not necessarily mercury-safe.
What’s Changed & Why You Should Know About It!
Today it’s more important than ever for mercury-safe dentists to make a clear distinction between themselves and those who are just mercury-free. In 2008, for the first time ever, a survey showed that over 50% of general dentists no longer place mercury amalgam fillings and are only amalgam-free. Most said they didn't because amalgam simply isn’t a good filling material when compared to the newer composites. But, solely based on the fact they no longer put in mercury amalgam fillings, these dentists are now promoting their practices as being mercury-free!
However, just because they are now using the term mercury-free doesn’t mean that they use safe removal protocols to protect themselves, their staff, the environment, and patients from excessive and unnecessary exposure to mercury during amalgam removal. Bottom line . . . patients can no longer be assured that a dentist who advertises his or her practice as being amalgam-free, is also mercury-safe! This is a growing problem for mercury-safe dentists and unsuspecting patients; and must be addressed. It is also causing mercury-safe dentists to lose patients.
Therefore, mercury-safe is a more accurate description of those who not only don’t use amalgam fillings, but also remove them as safely as possible. This means it’s time to change with the times and I encourage all existing mercury-safe dentists to add the term “Mercury-Safe” to “Mercury-Free” whenever they are describing a practice that both doesn’t use amalgam and safely removes them. I can’t stress this enough because although dentists who no longer place amalgams can justifiably call themselves ‘mercury-free’ . . . they cannot use the term ‘mercury-safe’ if they don't use safe removal protocols. I’ll explain why you should promote your practice as both mercury-safe and mercury-free and the benefits from doing so.
Return to Top
The Difference between a Mercury-Safe and a Mercury-Free Dentist
Every dentist still using mercury amalgam removes and replaces old amalgam fillings many times a day. As you know, removing amalgams without using a safe protocol is a simple and quick process. Most mercury-safe dentists also take a holistic/biological approach to dentistry but the fundamental difference between mercury-safe dentists and those who are only mercury-free is that mercury-safe dentists know that:
- unsafe removal of amalgam releases unnecessary and excessive amounts of toxic mercury vapor.
- the amount of mercury released is far in excess of what is allowed by every government regulatory agency.
- the mercury vapor released is harmful to the health of everyone exposed to it.
- if a mercury separator isn't used unsafe levels of mercury are released into the wastewater and environment.
In addition, mercury-safe dentists have the training, experience, skills and specialized equipment to make their practices as mercury-safe as possible.
Other Advantages of Being Mercury-Safe
It is important to know there is a major difference between being Occupationally Safe and whether or not mercury amalgam fillings are a health hazard. Thus, promoting your practice as mercury-safe doesn't mean you are saying anything about whether or not amalgam fillings pose a health hazard to those who have them in their teeth. My book, The Poison in Your Teeth, makes the case that they are, but if you aren’t comfortable discussing the health hazard issue with your patients you can provide them with my book, or refer them to my website. I realize that many mercury-safe dentists still don't want to initiate the conversation about the health hazards of mercury amalgam fillings and if you are in this category, my book and website will accomplish this for you, from a credible third party source. Educating your patients in this way also removes the threat of harassment from state and local dental boards. (A following article discusses the difference between being mercury-safe and amalgam fillings as a health hazard.)
Not only will promoting your practice as both mercury-safe and mercury-free distinguish you from dentists who are only mercury-free but it will be a great practice builder because it will give you an Edge when it comes to marketing your practice. It will encourage people to ask you what the difference is between being mercury-free and also being mercury-safe. This will give you the opportunity to tell them that even though the dental profession is the only industry using toxic elemental mercury vapor that isn't regulated, you feel a moral obligation to do all you can to minimize your patients occupational exposure to mercury.
The additional benefit to your practice of saying you are both mercury-free and mercury-safe is that no state board or dental society could ever criticize, or harass, you for doing everything you can to minimize your patients exposure to mercury vapor during amalgam removal. They don't want to touch this issue with a ten-foot poll as they know it could lead to the dental profession being monitored by OSHO and possibly other regulatory agencies. (Which I predict will soon happen anyway as self-regulation isn't working.)
In fact, even the ADA encourages dentists to make their offices mercury safe, although they use a different term for it. I encourage you to read an article in the JADA, from the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, Dental Mercury Hygiene Recommendations, for some insight about its support of mercury-safe dentistry – I think it will surprise you. Click Here to access the Article. You will also understand why the ADA or state boards will not challenge your position on Mercury-Safe Dentistry!
Return to Top
As you've read in this article, it doesn't matter how you now feel about amalgam fillings being a health hazard for those who have them in their teeth. Regardless of your stance on that issue, if you want to protect yourself, your staff, your patients and the environment from unnecessary and excessive exposure to mercury you will still need to make certain your office is
as mercury-safe as possible from occupational exposure to mercury vapor. It won't be long before the dental office will be regulated and monitored for mercury levels, so you'll have to become mercury-safe at some point anyway. I also believe that not doing so could put you at risk of potential lawsuits for exposing patients and staff to mercury vapor when it is obvious and logical that you could, and should, be protecting them. (The next article will introduce you to the many benefits of promoting and marketing your mercury-safe practice.
Are You a Dental Patient?
If you are a dental patient and happened to have read this article I can’t stress enough the importance of finding a mercury-safe dentist who has the qualifications to safely remove your amalgam fillings. It may cost a little more to get this kind of protection, but it’s well worth it.
Another advantage of going to a mercury-safe dentist is that you won’t have to argue about why you believe mercury amalgam fillings are a health hazard, why you want them removed, and why you want to minimize your exposure to mercury in the process. Learn more about the Health Hazards of Mercury Amalgam Fillings. Click Here to find dentists who are both Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe.
Marketing and Growing a Mercury-Safe Practice
I encourage dentists listed on my Mercury-Safe Dentist Internet Directory, and all mercury-safe dentists, to add the term Mercury-Safe to their websites and to all marketing, promotional and advertising copy they produce, including all print media, radio and TV. Promoting yourself as both mercury-safe and mercury-free is the only practical and cost-effective way for patients be able to distinguish between your practice and dentists who don’t safely remove amalgam fillings - but promote themselves as being mercury-free. You can no longer assume that it is enough to simply say your office is mercury-free will be enough to attract new patients!
In order for mercury-safe dentists to take advantage of this very important distinction and actively promote their practices as being Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe I have developed a Marketing Program designed to help you Market and Grow Your Mercury-Safe Practice. It is very cost-effective and can be easily, and quickly implemented. We will also provide you and your staff with our marketing package which contains the materials and information needed to add new patients and increase revenues. Taking advantage of the marketing strategy I've developed is one of those exceptional examples of how doing the right thing can be profitable. For more information call 800-335-7755.
Are You Certain Your Office is as Mercury-Safe as it Should Be?
If you want to make your practice is mercury-safe, or you aren't absolutely certain yours is, the DVD, How to Make Your Practice Mercury-Safe: Minimizing Occupational Exposure to Mercury in the Dental Office is a must. It is the only one of its kind available to dentists and covers all of the safe removal protocols and equipment necessary to make your practice as mercury-safe as is possible for protecting yourself, your staff, the patient and the environment. It is a great visual tool for educating and motivating your office staff, has an important segment on Marketing and Growing a Mercury-Safe Practice, and offers 6 Hours of CE credits. In addition, select manufacturers are offering discounts to those who purchase the DVD. For more information go to www.newdirectionsdentistry.com or call 800-335-7755.
Return to Top
Mercury-Safe Dentistry and Amalgam Fillings as a Health Hazard: Two Separate Issues
Over the years I believe that the pioneers of mercury-free and mercury-safe dentistry, and the various holistic/biological dental organizations who have supported them, have combined two important issues that really must now be separated - mercury-safe dentistry and whether or not mercury amalgam fillings are a health hazard.
For example, it’s one thing to believe that the elemental mercury vapor released from a patient’s amalgam fillings on a daily basis is, or isn’t, a health hazard. While I’ve believe that it is, this issue is still controversial and is still being debated. That is one issue. However, practicing Mercury-Safe Dentistry and minimizing occupational exposure to mercury during amalgam removal - is an entirely separate issue and they must be understood as being separate. Not only should the dentist fully understand the difference but it must be clearly explained to the patient.
What distinguishes these two issues is that there’s a huge difference between the amount of mercury vapor emitted from amalgam fillings on a daily basis and the amount released during their unsafe removal at the dental office, up to a 1000 times more during unsafe removal. There is no controversy about that as this involves occupational exposure to mercury. Another distinction is that the mercury released from a person's amalgams is only affecting that person. When amalgams are removed unsafely in the dental office everyone is affected and to a much greater degree.
It’s because these two issues have gotten mixed together that has led to the confusion that has unnecessarily complicated the issue. I know there are still many dentists out there who continue to believe the mercury vapor released from amalgams while in a patients teeth does not pose a health hazard. I also think that the belief that amalgams are safe and harmless has led many dentists to believe that somehow the elemental mercury found in, and released by them is also safe. Or that perhaps the elemental mercury used in amalgams is a somehow a harmless kind of mercury! Regardless of the logic used by dentists to promote amalgam fillings as safe, it has led to the thinking that a dentist does not have to use safe removal protocols and the equipment necessary to minimize occupational exposure to mercury at the dental office.
Think about it! Even if mercury vapor wasn’t released from an amalgam filling after it has been placed in a tooth, unsafe amounts are released when it’s removed. So even if amalgam fillings were not a health hazard it would still require a safe removal protocol to protect the patient from mercury vapor during their removal. Thus, promoting your practice as being mercury-safe is critical if you are to effectively distinguish your practice from those who are now saying that amalgam fillings are safe - and not to be concerned about the mercury released from them, whether from the filling itself or when it is removed. When viewed objectively, one can readily see that the occupational exposure issue is a completely separate issue from whether or not amalgams are safe, or not, when in patients teeth.
No regulatory agency, scientist, or qualified health professional would ever suggest not doing everything possible to minimize the patient's, and the dental staff’s, occupational exposure to mercury. Ironically, and sadly for the patient, the dental profession is the only industry using poisonous elemental mercury that isn’t regulated! But just because the dental office isn’t monitored for mercury, and even though it isn’t technically a legal requirement to practice mercury-safe dentistry, doesn’t mean patient shouldn’t be protected.
Finally, whether or not a patient wants to have an amalgam filling put in, or safely removed, is up to the patient and not the dentist. Being mercury-free and mercury-safe is a choice made by the dentist and is completely separate from the issue of whether or not amalgam fillings are a health hazard. I encourage all mercury-safe dentists to continue to argue that amalgam fillings are a health hazard and support the effort to have them banned from dentistry. But I also believe that every dentist removing amalgams has a moral, if not a legal, responsibility to protect the patients, the staff and the environment. It is also time the government regulatory agencies got the message and took the necessary steps to monitor the dental offices for mercury - as it now does for ALL other businesses using elemental mercury vapor.
Utilizing The Poison in Your Teeth to Attract New Patients!
There are five ways you can utilize my new book, The Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings . . . Hazardous to Your Health! as a very cost-effective practice builder and revenue generator for your mercury free and mercury safe dental practice.
- Provide the book to patients who want to have their amalgams safely removed but who still have questions about them. Often these questions require time consuming answers by you and your staff and by providing the book to selective patients will save you time, time that will, in effect, allow you to generate more revenues. It will also guarantee that the patient will commit to having them removed and to your treatment plan for replacing them.
In addition, the book will be passed around to friends and family, resulting in many word-of-mouth referrals to your practice. The key to having the book generate referrals is to always stamp your contact information on the first page and inside the back cover of every book you give out.
- Present the book to existing, and new, patients who still have amalgam fillings, but haven’t requested their removal. Many of these patients don’t know about the health hazards of amalgams or are uncertain, or are very skeptical about having them removed. This is the category of patients where it may be risky to personal explain your feelings about these toxic fillings. The advantage of using The Poison in Your Teeth to do so is that you didn’t initiate the conversation but provided the information from one of the leading authorities on this subject. The result will be that more and more of these patients will want to have their amalgams safely removed.
- Give the book to all female patients of child-bearing age. You’ll understand the importance of this when you read Chapter 6: The Effects of Mercury on the Fetus, Nursing Baby and Child. The long-standing dilemma for mercury safe dentists is that they’ve been pressured “not” to initiate the conversation about the health hazards of amalgams.
Using The Poison in Your Teeth to educate this special category of patients will allow them access to this critically important information, from a credible third-party source. This will allow them to make an informed decision based on information from the book, not from you. The best part about doing it this way is that your only involvement is to fulfill your responsibility to provide your patients with information about their oral and overall health; leaving them to make their own choices. These patients will also pass the book around and tell their family and friends, increasing referrals.
- Shift your marketing emphasis from being mercury free to being mercury safe and mercury free. For decades the term “Mercury Free” has been used to distinguish between dentists who remove amalgams in a safe way and pro-amalgam dentists who don’t. Using mercury free as the term to characterize mercury safe dentists is no longer valid or useful. Today, over 50% of general dentists no longer place amalgam fillings and most of these dentists are also advertising themselves as mercury free. You can see the problem this creates because the public has come to assume that dentists who call themselves mercury free are also mercury safe. This means countless unsuspecting patients will now be mislead by the inaccurate use of the term mercury free.
- Present The Poison in Your Teeth to health professionals in your area, including those you already know and those you’d like to make contact with. I’ve discovered that most health professionals don’t understand how toxic these fillings are and how hazardous they are to health. This is because they’ve never had access to information that clearly, and objectively, explains the amalgam issue. Once they do understand it, they will readily see the benefits to their practices of encouraging their patients with mercury amalgams to have them safely removed.
The book also clearly explains that unless their patients’ amalgams are safely removed the treatment they are providing will never achieve the results the patients seek. The book contains studies showing health improvements in patients after the amalgams were removed and has 300 references, attesting to the book’s credibility. Every health professional you provide the book to will be grateful to you and he or she will quickly become a solid source of referrals. It would also be beneficial if you provided an extra book for their waiting rooms.
Return to Top
The solution to this problem is to always refer to your practice as both mercury free and mercury safe and use this term whenever you market or promote your practice, in all media sources. I can’t stress this enough because dentists who no longer place amalgams can call themselves ‘mercury free’ . . . but they cannot use the term ‘mercury safe’. I’ve been promoting the need to make this change for a number of years. In The Poison in Your Teeth I make this distinction clear to readers and emphasize that they need to find a dentist who is both mercury free and mercury safe. Providing my book to patients will clarify this issue for them and generate new word-of-mouth patients. (More information about the importance of utilizing mercury safe to promote your practice can be found by Clicking Here!)
Add Your Contact Information to the Book
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, don’t forget to add your contact information to the book, both on the first page and the inside of the back cover. This is the key to getting new referrals as this book will be passed around and you want those who read it to know who provided it. They will know who wrote the book but, as it will most likely be passed around to friends and family in your area, it is essential that they know how to access you.
As the term mercury safe becomes the established phrase used to describe a dentist who safely removes amalgams, this will be the term the public will increasingly use to search for mercury safe dentists. Members of my Mercury Free and Mercury Safe Dentist Internet Listing Service will be found first because an Internet search for all variations of the term mercury safe dentists, including mercury safe dentistry, mercury free and mercury safe dentists, ranks my website as #1 on the first page of Goggle and the other major search engines.
This gives members a distinct advantage and will bring more patients to their practices. Today, nearly 70% of those searching for a mercury free and safe dentist find them on the Internet. If you are not yet a member of my listing service and would like to significantly increase your Internet presence I encourage you to call or visit my website to learn more about the many benefits of membership. You can review the Mercury Free Dentist Internet Listing Service’s Homepage.
For pricing on quantity orders of The Poison in Your Teeth and for additional information call toll free 800-335-7755. I also encourage you to visit my website, www.dentalwellness4u.com. It has nearly 300 pages of information and is a great way to educate your patients about important oral health issues.
Return to Top
Dr. Tom McGuire's Books on Amalgam Fillings and Mercury Detoxification
My new book, The Poison in Your Teeth, is now available. It’s the most informative, documented and accurate book ever written about the health hazards of mercury amalgam fillings. It will add to your knowledge about this subject, educate your patients, be a cost-effective practice builder, and serve as a rallying point to ban these fillings. The recent (2008) Federal Drug Administration (FDA) ruling that mercury released from amalgams is harmful to pregnant women, children, fetuses, and people who are especially sensitive to mercury exposure makes the book the primary source of credible information to provide your concerned patients, colleagues and doctors.
Members of my International Association of Mercury Free Dentists (IAMFD) member you receive a discount. I’ve also added information about my Mercury Detoxification book and added benefits of membership. If you'd like additional information about the book, including quantity orders, please call toll free, 800-335-7755.
The Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings . . . Hazardous to Your Health!
Retail: $14.95. Member Price: $12.00 (Free Media Mail Shipping & Handling)
Call 800-335-7755 to Order! Volume discounts available to members of the IAMFD. Click Here to receive your member discount!
The Poison in Your Teeth explains to patients how mercury vapor is continuously released from amalgam fillings how it poisons them - and what they can do about it. Informative, well-documented, extremely easy to read and understand, Dr. McGuire’s book is the definitive book on this subject and explains how:
- mercury from these poisonous fillings is a health hazard.
- mercury depletes essential antioxidants and devastates the immune system.
- to have these toxic fillings safely removed and replaced.
- to find a mercury safe and mercury free dentist.
- to distinguish between a pro-amalgam dentist, a mercury free dentist and a mercury safe dentist.
- mercury from amalgams can cause autism and learning and developmental disorders.
- important a mercury detoxification program is for removing accumulated mercury from the body.
- the ADA has stifled dissent and misled the public about these fillings.
The Poison in Your Teeth is a must for everyone with these fillings, but especially important to those who want to have a family and are unsure or skeptical about how these fillings affect their health and the health of their child. It clearly explains how the first exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings occurs at the moment of conception, if the mother has these fillings. Chapter 6: The Effects of Mercury on the Fetus, Nursing Baby and Child, is one of the most important chapters in the book. Dr. McGuire makes a compelling case that mercury, from amalgam fillings, is the primary cause of autism and other learning and developmental disorders.
While written for the layperson, Dr. McGuire’s book is a must read for dentists and staff, health professionals, and anyone who wants to have these fillings safely removed and improve their oral and overall health. For the first time, mercury safe dentists have a source of information about this subject that they can present to their patients - saving valuable office time. Dr. McGuire’s book is a tremendous practice builder, especially if you give it to health practitioners in your area. It also allows you to provide this information to your patients from a credible third-party source, protecting you from state and local dental boards.
Return to Top
To learn more about the book, Click Here!
Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury From
Your Body by Tom McGuire, DDS
Retail Price: $19.95 Member Price: $18.00 (Includes Free Media Mail Shipping and Handling.) Call 800-335-7755 for Volume Discounts. Click Here to Order a Single Copy of Mercury Detoxification.
The most complete, practical, and effective book on the subject of mercury detoxification. This easy to read and understand book clearly explains:
- How mercury poisons the body and how the detoxification process works.
- How mercury directly, or indirectly, contributes to, or makes worse every health problem.
- Why it is important to take the safe and natural approach to removing mercury.
- Why vitamins and nutritional supplements are necessary to support mercury removal from the body.
- The role and importance of antioxidants and the immune system in mercury detoxification.
- The importance of supporting intestinal health while detoxifying from mercury.
- The value and importance of providing your body with healing ‘brain’ food to counteract the damage caused by chronic mercury poisoning.
- The value and role of various tests available for determining mercury exposure.
- How to tolerance test supplements to eliminate or minimize potential side-effects.
- The role of pharmaceutical chelating agents in removing mercury from the body.
- How dentists can protect themselves from ongoing exposure to mercury.
While written for the layperson, Mercury Detoxification is even more important for dentists who are still being exposed to mercury. The book will not only add to your knowledge base, benefit your patients, but also guide you through your own detoxification process.
To learn more about this valuable book and view Dr. Tom’s extensive and informative website.
Return to Top
Healthy Teeth - Healthy Body: How to Improve Your Oral and Overall Health
Retail Price: $11.95 Member Price: $10.00 (Includes Free Media Mail Shipping and Handling.) Call 800-335-7755 for Volume Discounts. Click Here to Order a Single Copy of Mercury Detoxification.
The relationship of oral health to overall health is critically important. If you want to keep your teeth and improve your oral and overall health Healthy Teeth-Healthy Body can help. It is the most practical, up-to-date, and informative book on preventive dental care ever written. It shows you how to:
• Eliminate tooth decay and gum disease
• Improve your overall health and energy
• Give the gift of oral health to your children
• Overcome your dental fear
• Save Thousands of dollars in dental treatment costs
• Effectively work with the Dental Hygienist to develop a personalized oral hygiene program
The Effect of Gum Disease on Your Health
There is no longer any doubt of the serious affects of gum (periodontal) disease on overall health. Gum disease can cause, contribute, or increase the risk of many very serious diseases, including:
• Heart Attack
• Low Pre-term Birth weight
• Respiratory and Digestive diseases.
Gum disease can also dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the immune system and actually shorten life-expectancy. The truth is you can no longer afford to look at dental disease (gum disease and tooth decay) as a minor problem of the teeth and gums. It is a serious health problem and if you ever want to be truly healthy you must restore your oral health.
Healthy Teeth - Healthy Body was written to help make your efforts at educating your patients practical, rewarding, and profitable. It’s designed to simplify and standardize patient education and to be easily inserted into your existing prevention program. The philosophy behind providing my book to your patients is to give them a source of information about the basics of preventing dental disease, that they can access as the need arises. Healthy Teeth is that source and while it’s written for the dental patient, it will be just as valuable for you and your staff. For more information about the benefits of adding this book to your hygiene program and providing it to patients can be found by Clicking Here, or calling 800-335-7755.
The Relationship of Oral to Overall Health: What Every Health Practitioner Should Know
"The terms oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. Oral health is integral to general health: Oral health means more than healthy teeth and you cannot be healthy without oral health." Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Resources. "Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General."
For the Health Professional
I wrote this for physicians and health care professionals whose philosophy is to do everything in their power to help their patients' achieve optimal health and well-being. If this is your philosophy, I suggest you read through this and learn more about the important role oral health plays in overall health. You will discover that until you take your patients’ oral health into consideration when treating them for any existing health problem, you will not be taking a 'truly holistic' approach to health. Until you do, I believe any treatment protocol you use will not achieve the results you seek, and the patient desires and expects.
Bridging the Gap between the Medical and Dental Professions
The communication gap between the dental and medical communities began over 150 years ago when dentistry split from medicine. The result of this gap is that most patients and health professionals are unaware of the effect that dental disease (particularly gum disease), mercury from amalgam fillings, and other oral health issues can have on overall health. Vital and necessary information regarding this is not being shared between the two professions, and your patients are the ones who suffer for it.
The Relationship of Oral to Overall Health
Are you aware that dental disease can have a serious effect on overall health? The long held belief that gum disease is a localized, minor disease of the teeth and gums has not withstood the test of time. It is a serious disease of the body. It may originate in the gums and teeth, but left unchecked, the destruction it can cause is definitely not restricted to the mouth. An increasing body of evidence now shows that gum disease can increase the risk of:
- Heart attack by as much as 25%
- Stroke by a factor of 10
- Respiratory disease
- Pancreatic cancer
- Digestive disease
- Preterm low birth weights
Gum disease can also make it more difficult to control diabetes and is now considered a factor in osteoporosis. It can also severely stress the immune system, lowering the body's resistance to other diseases and can actually reduce life expectancy.
A number of oral health issues can negatively affect systemic health. The most important of these are:
Return to Top
- Gum (periodontal) disease
- Mercury amalgam silver fillings
- Infected root canals
- Cavitations (infected sites in the jawbones)
- Non-biocompatible dental materials
- Other Diseases of the oral cavity
The impact of these oral health issues on overall health is determined by the seriousness and duration of each, and how many are present in the individual.
There is a strong possibility that a patient could be affected by one or all of a number of the above oral health problems. For example, a patient could have periodontal disease (the most serious form of gum disease), suffer from chronic mercury poisoning, have an infection from a failed root canal, a cavitation infection, an allergic reaction to dental materials, and even fluoride poisoning—all present at the same time. Can you definitively say that none of your patients suffer any of those problems?
I have another question for you. How many of your patients are suffering from health issues related to degenerative diseases and a depleted immune system? I’d say a majority are and I strongly recommend you take appropriate measures to determine whether periodontal disease, amalgam fillings, or any of the other oral problems I've mentioned are contributing to the cause or severity of those diseases.
Determining and eliminating the source or contributing factor to any health problem should always be included in treating any illness. Not to do so would jeopardize the success of the patient’s treatment and preclude the desired outcome. While there is no legal responsibility for any health professional to include the state of a patient's oral health as part of his/her total health assessment, I believe there is an ethical and moral one.
Chronic Mercury Poisoning from Mercury-Amalgam Fillings
Possibly even more damaging to overall health is the chronic mercury poisoning that results from the release of mercury vapor from amalgam (silver) fillings. Many alternative health professionals are well aware of this health problem. If you are unfamiliar, or unsure of its effect on overall health, I highly recommend my latest book, Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body. The book explains how these toxic fillings affect the health and well being of everyone who has them, especially the fetus, nursing baby, and young child. It will also explain how devastating mercury is to the immune system and how the secondary (indirect) effects of chronic mercury poisoning will, over time, be even more destructive to one’s health.
My book will also be your A to Z guide as to how to effectively remove accumulated mercury from the body. I know that the book will add to your existing knowledge base and will be an invaluable source of information for you and your patients. More information about this important subject is found on my website.
Return to Top
Chronic Mercury Poisoning: What You Need to Know
As a health professional, I know you’d be concerned if you knew a patient was suffering from chronic mercury poisoning. It wouldn’t matter whether the source of exposure was occupation, environment, or dental fillings. I also know you would want to support your patient’s efforts to determine the extent of the poisoning and initiate treatment to remove the accumulated mercury.
But did you know that mercury amalgam fillings are the number one source of chronic mercury poisoning, far greater than any other source, including seafood? If you’ve been under the illusion that mercury amalgam fillings don’t pose a health hazard, you'll see it in a far different way when you read my book. As you’ll discover, there is a simple and inexpensive and objective fecal metals test that will alleviate any skepticism you or a patient may have.
The symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning are many and the health problems mercury can directly, or indirectly, cause, contribute to or make worse is extensive. Chronic Mercury Poisoning: Related Symptoms and Diseases .
Referenced and Abstracted Articles
I've accumulated nearly 1,100 referenced and abstracted articles about mercury amalgam fillings, chronic mercury poisoning, and mercury detoxification. Abstracted and Referenced Articles about Mercury.
Gum Disease: A Serious Infection of the Body
The role of gum disease as a contributing and even causative factor in systemic diseases is not debatable. You cannot afford to overlook this relationship when treating a patient with any serious health problem. I know you are aware that infection, especially such a serious and long lasting one as gum disease, will negatively affect the entire body. But are you aware of just how serious it is? It has been estimated that if laid out flat, the infected area in a mild form of gum disease would cover the size of a postcard. In moderate-to-severe gum disease, the total infected area would cover an area the size of a standard sheet of paper.
Gum disease can be a very serious infection, one that not only involves the skin and soft tissue, but the underlying bone as well. I am certain that if the area of infection from moderate to severe gum disease were transferred to the head and neck, or any other part of the body, you would consider this to be an emergency situation and initiate immediate treatment. Yet this condition exists in tens of millions of Americans, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Can you tell me how many of your patients have this form of gum disease, or the extent and severity of it? I’m not going into further detail about the cause, treatment and prevention of gum disease, because everything you and your patients would ever want to know about this subject can be found in my book, Healthy Teeth - Healthy Body: How to Improve Your Oral and Overall Health. Additional information is available on my website, www.dentalwellness4u.com.
Return to Top
The Role of the Health Professional in Oral Health
But you may ask, “Isn't dental disease a problem that should be handled by the dentist?” I would wholeheartedly agree if the harmful effects of this disease were only restricted to the mouth. But, as you have read, they are not because they all have a negative effect on the entire body. You are right that treating dental disease is the responsibility of the dental profession. However, treating the health problems that have resulted from oral health issues is the responsibility of health professionals.
To truly practice whole body medicine, you must know whether your patients are in good oral health, and your patients must be aware of the importance of oral health to overall health. I believe it's also your responsibility to inform your patients of the role these oral health issues play in overall health and to do everything possible to support their efforts eliminate their source. There can be no doubt that making your patients aware of the systemic effects of oral health issues, particularly gum disease and chronic mercury poisoning, will be invaluable to them and to your practice.
Addressing Oral Health Issues with Your Patients
I want to be very clear that I am not suggesting that you have to become a dentist or provide any form of dental treatment to your patients. Nor are you responsible for a patient following up on your recommendations. But you can’t afford not to address the issue of oral health with them, especially since it could affect the success of your treatment. But recommending that they see a mercury free, holistic dentist is really no different than sending them to another medical specialist.
In addition, your patients must be willing—if they are now suffering from gum disease or have mercury amalgam fillings—to take the necessary steps to eliminate gum disease and to have their amalgam fillings removed and replaced. If your patients with gum disease and mercury amalgam fillings are willing to do their part to eliminate the problem, treating any existing health issue will be much, much more successful. If they are not willing, you will still have fulfilled your responsibility. You will also have an answer if your treatment is not as successful as it was designed and hoped to be.
I have long believed that opinions without solutions do not have much practical value. Thus, I offer some solutions that I believe will help you address the health problems created by dental disease. There are four important steps in this process. Following them will not only ensure you are practicing holistic medicine, but also reassure your patients that you are truly treating them as a whole person.
Because 50% of the population still do not see a dentist regularly you will need to ask your patients three important questions:
- Do they regularly see a dentist?
- Do they now have gum disease?
- Do they now have, or had, amalgam (silver) fillings?
If they don't see a dentist regularly, or have gum disease and amalgam fillings, or don't know, you will need to make it clear that these issues must be addressed and they must be willing to see a a mercury free, holistic, dentist. (I say mercury free because pro-amalgam dentists do not believe these fillings are a health hazard, even though they release significant amounts of mercury vapor.)
Return to Top
Request that they have their dentist provide you with a current evaluation of their overall oral health, including whether they have gum disease, its severity, how many amalgam fillings are present, and the results of a complete soft tissue examination for signs of cancer, or other diseases whose signs and symptoms are first seen in the mouth (over 20). This information will allow you to either exclude or include these factors as a contributor to their existing health problems.
If the information from the dentist shows that the patient:
- is free of dental disease.
- has no mercury amalgam fillings.
- is free from oral cancer, or any other diseases whose early signs and symptoms can show up in the oral cavity.
If this is the case, then you can proceed with your diagnosis and treatment planning with the knowledge that oral health problems are not a contributing factor to any of the patient’s symptoms or systemic diseases.
If their dental examination shows that the patient has gum disease or amalgam fillings, you need to take the time to discuss his or her options. Determine if they are willing to do their share to eliminate any existing dental disease, have their mercury amalgam fillings safely removed and replaced, eliminate the infection, and have their mouths restored to optimal health and function.
Provide them with a source of information that will educate and motivate them to fulfill their responsibility as a patient. This will be my books and website, or any other source of information that you know will be effective.
You also have the option of testing patients with amalgam fillings for mercury. There are a number of tests that will provide you with information that they have excess mercury and the most commonly used tests are discussed in my book. Personally, I feel the fecal metals test (Doctor’s Data) is the most effective and is also none invasive and doesn’t require a chelator.
Providing the Information to Your Patients
If the dental office examination confirms the presence of amalgam fillings or gum disease, I suggest that you recommend my Mercury Detoxification book and provide the patient with my website address, www.dentalwellness4u.com. Doing so will allow him or her access to the information they will need to eliminate this disease. You will no longer need to worry about how to provide that information to the patient and will not have to take valuable office time explaining it to them. You cannot make choices for your patients, but you can provide them with instructive and credible information from which they can make their own decisions about these important oral health issues.
I also have the world’s largest listing of mercury free, holistic dentists. This will provide you with a source to refer your patients to and help you bridge the gap between oral and overall health. Access Mercury Free and Mercury Safe Dentists. This listing is the most comprehensive and highest rank directly of mercury free and mercury safe dentists on the Internet.
In addition, I'm compiling a list of Alternative Health Professionals and encourage you to list your practice with me. This service gives patients and dentists access to alternative health professionals who understand the important relationship of oral health to overall health. To get a listing Click Here.
Return to Top
Benefits to Your Practice
Providing this information to your patients will benefit your practice in the following ways:
- It will increase the treatment success rate for patients who take the necessary steps to eliminate gum disease and remove and replace mercury amalgam fillings. As long as your patients are suffering from an active oral disease or chronic mercury poisoning, any treatment you provide will be appreciably less effective. Note that at least 80% of the adult population has some form of gum disease and nearly 200 million have amalgam fillings. This could mean that a significant majority of your patients now suffer from it.
- It will be a practice builder. Your patients will appreciate the fact that you are concerned about their total health and have taken the time to point out the seriousness of chronic mercury poisoning and gum disease. Few physicians take this whole body approach and provide this information to their patients. Doing so will make a difference!
- It will serve as a reminder. Patients will now understand that as long as they are being poisoned by mercury and have active oral infection, their existing health problems could be more difficult or even impossible to resolve. It will inform them that if they truly want to improve their health, quality of life, and life expectancy, they will also need to deal with their oral health issues. It also puts them on notice that taking care of their oral health is their responsibility, not yours.
- It will fulfill your responsibility to your patients. You do not have a legal responsibility to provide your patients with information about their oral health, but I believe you have an ethical and moral responsibility. I believe it will be a practice builder if you made my books available to your patients. But if not, by recommending them and my website, you will have at least addressed the issue of responsibility by pointing them in the right direction.
You don’t have to become a dentist to deal with the negative affects of the above mentioned oral health issues on your patients' overall health. You don’t even have to provide the actual information most patients will need to help them prevent dental disease. But it is vitally important to make them aware of how these oral health issues can contribute to health problems and negatively affect their efforts to achieve optimal health and longevity.
I understand that you may be skeptical about the relationships between oral health issues and overall health. When I felt the same skepticism my response was to research this subject and be as objective as I could. The result of this research was Healthy Teeth - Healthy Body: How to Improve Your Oral and Overall Health which offers the reader a choice between oral disease and oral health. I’m certain that once you read Healthy Teeth and review the reference articles on my website, you will understand just how serious gum disease can be to overall health.
If you are skeptical about chronic mercury poisoning from silver amalgam fillings, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your patients to learn everything you can about this subject. To that end, I recommend that you read Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from the Body and review the related material on my website. Since I’m confident that you’re much more concerned with facts than fiction, I also suggest reviewing the references in the books and on my website. I spent thousands of hours researching and writing about this subject and you can take advantage of my efforts.
In closing, I believe it is long past time to bridge the communication gap between the dental and medical professions and bring whole body health and healing into the 21st century. The mouth is an integral part of the body and what happens there will affect the entire body. I suggest that, as a health professional, you at least evaluate the available information I've presented and seriously consider that “Total Health Must Include Oral Health.”
If this information was provided by a member of my Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe Dental Association, see contact information below, I encourage you to send your patients to his or her office for their dental examination and diagnosis.
Tom McGuire, DDS
Return to Top
FDA Statement about Amalgam Fillings
For the first time ever, the FDA has stated amalgam fillings are toxic to a significant portion of our population. The most important part of the article below is that the FDA now states that mercury amalgam fillings may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetus,” and that pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden“should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner. You can access the FDA's web page on amalgams by Clicking Here.
As my book, The Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings . . . Hazardous to Your Health! clearly explains, everyone with mercury amalgam fillings will have high existing levels of mercury. If you are concerned about your levels, or those of your family who have these fillings, I encourage you to read my book.
Mercury Tooth Fillings: FDA Does an About Face
Newsweek, Tuesday, June 10, 2008
By Sharon Begley
When you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting to have a cavity filled, you don’t see the package the amalgam filling comes in. But if you did your eye might well be drawn to a couple of “contraindications,” med-speak for “situations in which the dentist should not use this product.” In addition to ho-hum warnings about not using the amalgam, which contains about as much mercury as a thermometer, in patients known to be allergic to amalgam (duh), the manufacturers say it should not be used in children age 6 and under, or in pregnant women.
The reason, of course, is that mercury is a known neurotoxin, especially dangerous to developing brains. For decades anti-mercury activists have pushed the industry to develop substitutes (so-called composites, or resins, are now available), and even to persuade people to have their fillings ripped out, but have made very little headway.
Now they have won a big one. In a legal settlement signed last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has changed the information on its Web site about amalgam fillings to say that they “may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetus,” and that pregnant women “should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner.” Previously, there was no such warning. The FDA also agreed to decide by next year whether mercury fillings need more regulation.
The FDA had been dragging its feet for so long on mercury in dental fillings that even the judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, castigated the agency: “This is your classic failure to act,” she said. (The case is Moms Against Mercury et al. v. Von Eschenbach, Commissioner, et al. The “et al” plaintiffs are other consumer and environmental groups, as well as state officials.)
In a press conference yesterday, the anti-mercury groups claimed victory: “Gone are all of FDA’s claims that no science exists that amalgam is unsafe, or that other countries have acted for environmental reasons only, or that the 2006 FDA advisory panel affirmed amalgam’s safety, all of which are untrue,” said plaintiff Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project.
Return to Top
The foot-dragging that the judge called the agency on has been particularly noticeable since 2006, when members of an FDA advisory panel recommended [http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/meetings/090606-summary.html ] that the agency consider informed consent for patients receiving amalgam fillings, as well as possible labeling changes restricting their use in pregnant woman and children. None of that happened, although a number of other countries are much more cautious when it comes to amalgam fillings, including Canada, France and Sweden.
So what does the science say about any risks posed by the mercury in amalgam fillings, which make up about 30 percent of the 150 million fillings used each year in the U.S.? Don’t bother with the many old studies concluding that they pose no risk, for until 2006 there has not been a single one following the gold-standard for this kind of research, namely, randomized controlled trials following children with and without mercury fillings for at least five years. The first (and so far only) two were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April 2006. The conclusion: after following just over 1,000 kids for five years in one study and seven years in the other, the scientists found no evidence of harmful effects. As one team put it: “no statistically significant differences were found between children in the amalgam and composite groups” in IQ, in memory abilities, in visuomotor skills. In all, “there were no statistically significant differences in adverse neuropsychological . . . effects observed over the 5-year period in children whose caries were restored using dental amalgam or composite materials . . . [a]though it is possible that very small IQ effects cannot be ruled out.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. The JAMA editors commissioned an editorial on the two papers. It was written by Herbert Needleman, the scientist who did more than any other to document the toxicity of lead to developing brains. He didn't exactly find the studies to be the last word on the subject, writing, “there are, as the authors clearly delineate, limits to the inferences that can be drawn from these data. It is predictable that some outside interests will expand the modest conclusions of these studies to assert that use of mercury amalgam in dentistry is risk free.” (Indeed, the American Dental Association continues to do exactly that.) “This conclusion,” Needleman said, “would be unfortunate and unscientific.”
Why? Even the impressive 5- and 7-year periods that the children were followed and tested may not be enough, for early exposure to toxic compounds can have effects even later in life. Said Needleman, “The hints that mercury has an effect on the aging brain emphasize” that concern. Also, even with 1,000 children the studies cannot rule out the possibility that mercury fillings cause a loss of several IQ points. Since 50 million children are walking around with amalgam fillings, “if mercury caused subtle effects in 1% of those exposed, up to 500 000 children could be affected,” Needleman pointed out.
One wild card here is that, as scientists are finding with so many other toxic compounds, who’s harmed depends on genes. Millions of baby-boomers with a mouth full of fillings are probably saying right about now that their brains work just fine, thank you, despite decades of living with mercury in their teeth and therefore mercury vapors wafting into the blood and brain. But “sensitivity to mercury toxicity may have a genetic basis,” Needleman wrote: variations in a gene called coproporphyrinogen oxidase (CPOX4) “altered the impact of mercury on cognitive and mood scores. Approximately 25% of the US population” has the sensitive-to-mercury gene.
What to do? No one with any sense recommends having your existing mercury fillings ripped out. That’s not only costly and possibly painful, but could expose you to a big pulse of mercury. Still, surely it is reasonable to stop pretending that putting neurotoxins in our mouths-where they stay for decades, with tiny puffs of mercury being released every time we chew-is a good idea. After all, there was also a time when "experts" pooh-poohed the suspicion that lead was bad for children's brains, too.
Epidemiological studies and clinical trials have not connected amalgams to health problems, but in animal studies, mercury vapors have damaging effects. Numerous human studies have found that mercury in the blood, brain, and other tissues increases with the number of amalgam fillings.
Mercury has been removed from thermometers and vaccines, controls have been tightened on mercury emissions from coal power plants, and pregnant women have been warned about consuming fish tainted by mercury.
© 2007 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
Return to Top