Have More Than Eight Dental Fillings?

Have More Than Eight Dental Fillings?

It could increase the mercury levels in your blood

Dental Fillings Silver Spring & Baltimore Maryland | Dr. Sammy NoumbissiDental surface restorations composed of dental amalgam, a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and other metals, significantly contribute to prolonged mercury levels in the body, according to new research from the University of Georgia’s department of environmental health science in the College of Public Health.

This research, which analyzed data from nearly 15,000 individuals, is the first to demonstrate a relationship between dental fillings and mercury exposure in a nationally representative population. The results were published online last week and will be available in the print edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety in December.

“Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases,” said Lei Yin, a scientist in the department of environmental health science and the study’s lead author. “I think a majority of people have experienced dental fillings, but the kind of materials the dentist uses isn’t something that’s really discussed.”

Mercury exposure from dental fillings is not a new concern, but previous studies were inconsistent and limited, according to Xiaozhong “John” Yu, assistant professor of environmental health science and co-author of the study.

“This study is trying to provide the most accurate levels of exposure, which will form the scientific basis to make future risk assessment,” Yu said, adding that the study was the first to also control for age, education, ethnicity, race, gender, smoking and seafood consumption, which is a known contributor to mercury levels in the body.

The researchers further analyzed exposure by specific types of mercury and found a significant increase in methyl mercury, the most toxic form of mercury, related to dental fillings. Yu said this result suggests the human gut microbiota, a collection of microorganisms living in the intestines, may transform different types of mercury.

Dental amalgam has been the go-to dental filling material for more than 150 years, because it’s affordable and durable. However, about half of the compound contains mercury, a heavy metal known to be toxic at high levels, causing brain, heart, kidney, lung and immune system damage. New research suggests that methyl mercury may cause damage even at low levels.

“As toxicologists, we know that mercury is poison, but it all depends on the dose. So, if you have one dental filling, maybe it’s OK. But if you have more than eight dental filings, the potential risk for adverse effect is higher,” Yu said. People with numerous dental fillings who are also exposed to mercury from other sources, such as seafood or work environments, are most at risk.

The results show that individuals with more than eight fillings had about 150 percent more mercury in their blood than those with none. The average American has three dental fillings, while 25 percent of the population has 11 or more fillings.

According to its website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers dental amalgam fillings safe for adults, but says, “pregnant women and parents with children under six who are concerned about the absence of clinical data as to long-term health outcomes should talk to their dentist.”

The study also looked at dental composite resins, a mercury-free alternative for dental fillings that can release small amounts of bisphenol A, or BPA, which may cause developmental or reproductive damage. The results found no association between dental fillings and urinary BPA, but further research is needed to understand BPA exposure from resin-based materials.

“It’s important for doctors and patients to be informed in their selections,” Yin said. “We now have an excellent starting point to evaluate the potential risk of dental material on human health.”

Beyond Tooth Decay

Beyond Tooth Decay

Why Good Dental Hygiene Is Important

Dental Hygiene - Tooth Decay Silver Spring & Baltimore MD | Sammy Noumbissi, DDSWith one in two Australian children reported to have tooth decay in their permanent teeth by age 12, researchers from the University of Sydney believe they have identified some nanoscale elements that govern the behavior of our teeth.

Material and structures engineers worked with dentists and bioengineers to map the exact composition and structure of tooth enamel at the atomic scale. Using a relatively new microscopy technique called atom probe tomography, their work produced the first-ever three-dimensional maps showing the positions of atoms critical in the decay process. The new knowledge on atom composition at the nano level has the potential to aid oral health hygiene and caries prevention, and has been published in the journal Science Advances. Professor Julie Cairney, Material and Structures Engineer in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, said: “The dental professionals have known that certain trace ions are important in the tough structure of tooth enamel but until now it had been impossible to map the ions in detail. “The structure of human tooth enamel is extremely intricate and while we have known that magnesium, carbonate and fluoride ions influence enamel properties scientists have never been able to capture its structure at a high enough resolution or definition.” “What we have found are the magnesium-rich regions between the hydroxyapatite nanorods that make up the enamel. “This means we have the first direct evidence of the existence of a proposed amorphous magnesium-rich calcium phosphate phase that plays an essential role in governing the behavior of teeth. ” Co-lead researcher on the study, Dr Alexandre La Fontaine from the University’s Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, said: We were also able to see nanoscale ‘clumps’ of organic material, which indicates that proteins and peptides are heterogeneously distributed within the enamel rather than present along all the nanorod interfaces, which was what was previously suggested. The mapping has the potential for new treatments designed around protecting against the dissolution of this specific amorphous phase. The new understanding of how enamel forms will also help in tooth remineralisation research.”
Fluoride Breaks The Food Barrier

Fluoride Breaks The Food Barrier

Over the past century, the levels of fluoride in foods purchased at the grocery store have steadily increased due to several factors including; the mass fluoridation of water supplies, the introduction of fluoride-based pesticides and the use of mechanical deboning processes in the meat industry.

One of the biggest problems is produce – both organic and non-organically grown — which is sprayed with pesticides. The newer pesticides contain alarmingly high levels fluoride making the typical North American’s daily consumption about 1.8 milligrams of fluoride — almost twice the amount of fluoride delivered from drinking one liter of fluoridated water. The consumption of non-organic foods is now thought to account for as much as one-third of the average person’s fluoride exposure.

WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?

Fluoride Breaks The Food Barrier | Sammy Noumbissi DDS

                 Courtesy www.FluorideAlert.org

Early in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommended that water fluoridation programs should lower the levels added to water from 1 ppm fluoride 0.7 ppm. Although helpful, even this measure clearly does not go far enough to solve the problem, as many children continue to ingest levels of fluoride much higher than is recommended, or considered ‘safe’. When you consider all of the sources of fluoride contamination it isn’t surprising that we are seeing a dramatic increase in dental fluorosis (a tooth defect caused by excess fluoride intake) and a marked rise in cases reported over the past 60 years.

WHERE IS ALL THIS FLUORIDE COMING FROM?

The fluoride-based pesticide called cryolite (a white or colorless mineral made up of fluoride, sodium and aluminum in crystal form) is essentially sodium aluminum fluoride, which is used for its ability to kill produce-loving insects. Cryolite also adheres to produce in a thick layer that effectively ‘seals’ the produce in pesticide and is extremely difficult to remove before consumption. Fresh produce that is temporarily stored in a warehouse environment is also treated with a gas fumigant, used to kill insects and rodents. This fumigant is recognized to leave extremely high levels of fluoride residue “in or on” stored foods.

The naturally occurring levels of fluoride in fruits, vegetables, meat, grain, eggs, milk and fresh water supplies are generally very low (less than 0.1 ppm) with the exception of seafood, tea and deep-well water which all have elevated fluoride levels without human interference. As a general rule, the fluoride level in food increases as a byproduct of the industrial food-making process. This is particularly true in the U.S. where mass water fluoridation programs are in use, since food processors use the public water supply to make their products. The basic rule is more processing equals the more fluoride. Juice that is not made from concentrate will thus have less fluoride than reconstituted juice.

Organic food is less contaminated than non-organic food and a person’s exposure will thus be reduced if they eat more organic fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Cereals, mechanically deboned meats, and black or green tea are sources to avoid if possible. Mechanically deboned meat is problematic because “most meats that are pulverized into a pulp form (e.g., chicken fingers, chicken nuggets) are made using a mechanical deboning processes. This mechanical deboning process increases the quantity of fluoride-laden bone particles in the meat. As a result, research has found that mechanically deboned meat contains higher levels of fluoride” (The Fluoride Action Network, http://www.fluoridealert.org/content/chicken/), which is then transferred to the consumer’s dinner table. Black and green teas are naturally high in fluoride regardless of whether they are grown organically without pesticides due to how the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT FLUORIDE?

Recent studies have shown that hydrofluorosilicic acid levels in the body increases lead accumulation in bone, teeth and other calcium dependent tissues. This happens when the free fluoride ion acts as a transport of heavy metals, allowing them to enter into the soft tissues where they normally would not be able to go, including sensitive organs such as the brain.

In terms of acute toxicity (the amount that can cause immediate toxic consequences), fluoride is more toxic than lead but slightly less toxic than arsenic – which explains why fluoride has long been used in rodenticides and pesticides. It is also the reason accidents involving over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products including fluoridated gels, supplements and water can cause serious poisoning even leading up to death. There are reports of people who have in fact developed crippling skeletal fluorosis – a bone disease caused by excessive consumption of fluoride — from drinking high amounts of iced tea alone.

According to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) excessive fluoride exposure is well known to cause a painful bone disease (skeletal fluorosis), as well as a discoloration of the teeth known as dental fluorosis. It has also been linked to a range of other chronic ailments including;

  • arthritis,
  • bone fragility,
  • glucose intolerance,
  • gastrointestinal distress,
  • thyroid disease,
  • cardiovascular disease
  • certain types of cancer

People who are at highest risk to fluoride include infants, individuals with kidney disease, individuals with nutrient deficiencies (particularly calcium and iodine), and individuals with medical conditions that cause excessive thirst.

Fluoride also has the ability to stimulate the harmful effects of other chemicals and heavy metals in the environment, potentially making them even more harmful than they would be otherwise. For example, when you combine chloramines with the hydrofluorosilicic acid, the combination becomes very effective at extracting lead from old plumbing systems, promoting the accumulation of lead in the water supply – water which is then consumed by animals and humans alike.

Sports And Energy Drinks Can Damage Tooth Enamel

Scientific studies are now revealing the full extent of damage a person can inadvertently cause to their tooth enamel by consuming highly acidic beverages. With a reported 30- 50 percent of U.S. teenagers consuming popularized energy drinks on a daily basis, it is important that parents and young adults as well as fitness enthusiasts, understand the disadvantages these drinks can pose to oral health.

A recent study cited in General Dentistry; the Academy of General Dentistry’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal has revealed that fitness-minded adults and adolescents who routinely consume sports and energy drinks have an alarming increase in irreversible damage to teeth, damage that specifically targets the tooth enamel; the thin, outer layer of the tooth that helps preserve the tooth’s structure and prevent decay. Damage caused to sensitive tooth enamel is almost always irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become highly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more prone to decay.

THE TRUE COST OF CONSUMING SPORTS DRINKS

People who pursue active lifestyles ironically may avoid colas or sugary drinks in favor of what they believe to be a ‘healthier’ alternative and so they tend to rely on sports or energy drinks to rehydrate after exercising. But, with the results of recent studies pointing to the fact that regular long-term use of such highly acidic beverages can lead to irreversible damage to dental enamel, athletic types are best advised to take precautions to protect their teeth by either choosing an alternative or adopting a habit of rinsing after consuming acidic drinks.

To determine the true acidic properties researchers examined the levels of acid in 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. To test the effect of the acidity levels, samples of human tooth enamel were immersed in each beverage for 15 minutes, followed by immersion in artificial saliva for two hours. The test was repeated over five days, four times each day. The goal of the test was to simulate the same type of exposure teeth are subject to by someone who drinks an average of one beverage every few hours. The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days, and energy drinks in particular showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks – in fact, up to twice as much damage.

From this test and others of a similar type we can now conclude that enamel damage associated with all beverages ranging from greatest (1) to least (6) damage to dental enamel are as follows:

  1.  lemonade
  2. energy drinks
  3. sports drinks
  4. fitness water
  5. iced tea
  6. cola

Most cola-based drinks contain more than one type of acid, generally phosphoric and citric acids, both of which contribute to enamel damage. Sports beverages contain a range of other additives and organic acids that further exacerbate dental erosion. Organic acids also erode dental enamel as they break down calcium, which is needed to strengthen teeth and prevent gum disease.

HOW TO MINIMIZE THE DAMAGE

The best way to avoid damaging your dental enamel is to exercise caution when using sports drinks and similar beverages on a routine basis. Alternating sports drinks with water or low-fat milk after a workout can help to preserve tooth enamel and ultimately protect teeth from decay, but the best alternative is to minimize the intake of sports and energy drinks altogether. If you must drink acidic beverages it is advisable to chew sugar-free gum or rinse the mouth with water following consumption of the drinks as a way to increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to normalize acidity levels in the mouth. To avoid spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces thereby increasing the erosive action, it is a good idea to wait at least an hour before brushing after consuming sports and energy drinks.

New Movie Bringing Attention Mercury Amalgams

A new movie available for download and viewing online called ‘Mercury Undercover’ is exposing the abhorrent practices going on at the national level that prevent mainstream Americans from learning the truth about poison contamination from dental amalgam. Mercury Undercover illustrates all the evidence about mercury contamination, and features interviews by doctors, renowned scientists, environmental experts and survivors of mercury poisoning.

The disturbing issues brought to light in this film are geared to alarm viewers just enough to cause them to pause before buying and consuming fish products and to take into consideration the potential ramifications of their next dental procedure.

A few points brought up by this movie include:

  • The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggested thirteen years ago that dental amalgams could account for up to 75 percent of a person’s daily mercury exposure. There is approximately 1,000 mg of mercury in the typical silver amalgam filling, nearly one million times more mercury than is present in contaminated sea food.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that between 3-17 micrograms of mercury are released daily into the body by stimulating the filling through chewing, brushing and grinding, compared to only 2-5 micrograms from fish and all other environmental sources combined. An editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine also stated that dental amalgams were “possibly the chief source of exposure [to mercury] of a large segment of the U.S. population”. As shocking as it is, Americans and Europeans actually have more mercury in their mouths than exists in all manmade products combined – estimated at more than 1,000 tons. More than 180 million Americans of all ages host a total of 1.46 billion restored teeth, and the vast majority of those restorations are silver amalgams containing mercury. This measures out to about 75 percent of adults being exposed daily through silver amalgam fillings.
  • The 2nd largest mercury polluters in the U.S. are dental practices. As a result of their continued use of mercury amalgam fillings, another 29.7 tons of mercury is discharged into the air, water and soil each year from installation and removal of amalgams. Mercury coming from dental offices is reported to be the largest source of mercury found in wastewater today. According to an article authored by Michael Bender (co-founder of the Mercury Policy Project), at least 40 percent of mercury streaming into public water treatment plants starts out in the dental office. And wastewater treatment plants are not set up to remove mercury, so it ends up in waterways and oceans where it contaminates marine life before cycling back into the food chain and ending up on your dinner plate. Ultimately, when you consider the costs associated with environmental cleanup dental amalgams are actually the most costly type of dental fillings on the market – in terms of environmental damage and harm to living organisms, including humans.

And a point of our own:

  • Amalgams found in cadavers also post a risk to the environment. Emissions from the combustion of mercury fillings during the cremation process act as a major contaminator of air, waterways, soil, wildlife and food.

No less than 7-9 metric tons of mercury seeps into the atmosphere annually during the cremation process. As a result, it is expected that by the year 2020 the cremation of human remains will be the largest single cause of mercury pollution. And, it all started in the dental office.

MERCURY AMALGAMS ARE NOT AS CHEAP AS DENTISTS WOULD LIKE YOU TO THINK

Amalgam fillings contain more mercury than any other product sold in America. And they are highly profitable to a dentist, which explains why it is so difficult to get them to use healthier composite products. Dentists can install amalgam fillings much faster than many composite fillings, and once installed they keep the patient coming back for repairs (due to the damaging effects of metal fillings on the structure of the tooth).

The average “amalgam” filling is typically a mixture of silver, copper, tin and zinc with an equal amount of mercury (up to 50 percent mercury). Fillings naturally deteriorate over time, leaching the various metal components into the body in the process and they react to substances such as acid in the mouth, causing the filling to deteriorate even more rapidly. The deteriorating vapor then enters the body and is subsequently inhaled into the lungs where it is absorbed into the blood stream. Likewise, as we eat, mercury is incorporated into food, is then swallowed and digested and absorbed into the bloodstream where it is distributed to more vulnerable tissues and organs. Mercury vapors readily pass through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system, where it causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but virtually anyone exposed to mercury in this way is at risk.

Aspiring dentists continue to be taught that the mercury in amalgams is “bound” with the other metals and therefore doesn’t leak, which is why 50 percent of them continue to believe mercury amalgam use is safe. However, by the fact that mercury vapor can be measured at all as it seeps away from the tip of the root is absolute proof that amalgam fillings can and do leach mercury poisons into the body.

STRIVING FOR CHANGE

The Mercury Undercover website suggests specific goals and objectives that need to be addressed to stop silver mercury amalgam use in America:

  • Disclose mercury and end the “silver deception”; stop the ADA/dental board gag rule Inform consumers and dentists of the massive environmental harm caused by amalgam Make dentists (preferably those who perpetuate the use of mercury laced amalgams) pay for the massive harm to the environment; this would make the amalgam cost-prohibitive
  • Ban amalgam for children and pregnant women Introduce ART (Atraumatic restorative treatment), a safe, low-cost dental filling material that requires only hand instruments to install, and can even be done by a dental hygienist
  • End amalgam primacy in insurance plans

All of these points are excellent suggestions and honorable objectives. If you would like to help, The Consumers for Dental Choice has launched a worldwide Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry which outlines specific actions you can take on local, state, and national levels. Just visit their website to get started. They also suggest:

  1. If you are not already seeing a mercury-free dentist, ask your dentist to switch to mercury-free dentistry.
  2. If you work for a company that covers dental fillings, ask if they will cover composites or ART or other alternatives to amalgam.
  3. If you know your Mayor or a member of your City or Town Council, consider asking if they will do what some California cities are doing: pass a resolution calling for an end to amalgam and a request that dentists in your town stop using amalgam.
  4. And, write the Director of FDA’s Center for Devices, Jeff Shuren, jeff.shuren@fda.hhs.gov Ask Dr Shuren why FDA continues to ignore the scientists and covers up the mercury from American parents and consumers. Ask when FDA is going to get in step with the world on mercury.

 

Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director

Center for Devices, U.S. Food & Drug Admin.

10903 New Hampshire Ave.

WO66-5431, Room 5442

Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002

Telephone 301-796-5900

Your Toothbrush: A Ticking Time Bomb?

Brushing our teeth is an exercise in self-care that most of us do at least twice a day but there is also something we seldom consider; the health of that toothbrush. It might shock you to realize that literally millions of microorganisms (bacteria) live on the bristles of your personal toothbrush. That comes down to millions of microscopic bugs that can potentially cause flu, colds and other illnesses.

Recent studies have confirmed that oral health is connected with overall healthfulness. For example, there is a strong correlation between heart disease, diabetes, premature delivery in pregnant women, and strokes; and gum disease. Researchers discovered there are upwards of 10 million bacteria live on the typical toothbrush and we know that tooth decay is also caused by the type of bacteria that can survive on toothbrushes.

Studies have proven that cold and flu viruses and even the viruses that cause fever blisters (Herpes Simplex I) can survive on toothbrushes for several days – infecting and re-infecting the unsuspecting owner of that toothbrush. Here are just a few viruses that thrive on toothbrushes and some of the problems they can cause:

  • E. Coli: bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal pain and tenderness with no fever
  • Influenza Virus: fever, cough, headache and fatigue, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Staphylococci Bacteria: abscesses, boils, and skin infections
  • Herpes Simplex I: can affect the mouth, face and skin and can be present in the body without symptoms, generally causes recurring and painful blisters (cold sores or fever blisters)
  • Candida Albicans: mild nasal congestion, blisters in the mouth, sore throat or abdominal pain, and/or fatigue, dizziness and mood swings
  • Coliform Bacteria: usually present along other disease-causing bacteria and organisms

Some researchers also discovered bio-film thriving on toothbrushes, which is living colonies of breeding bacteria, with estimated numbers as high as 100 million microorganisms existing on individual brushes.

PROTECTING YOUR TOOTHBRUSH

Surprisingly, it isn’t the bacteria from your mouth that contributes to the worst bacterial problems on a toothbrush, it’s the fact that most people store their toothbrush unprotected in the open, on
the bathroom counter top. By far, flushing the toilet is the worst culprit for germs found on most toothbrushes. Every time you flush the toilet invisible jets of water propels germs into the air, where they can land on toothbrushes.

Family toothbrushes stored side-by-side only compound the risk of sharing germs and viruses. Bacteria, molds, and fungi love moist environments provided by most bathrooms and they also love dark enclosed spaces, so storing toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet may not be as ideal as you might think.

While most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every couple of months, most American’s aren’t likely to change their toothbrushes more than twice a year. Here are some steps you can take to keep your toothbrush germ free:

Storage: Store toothbrushes away from the toilet in a cool, dry place.

Rinse well: Wash off your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.

Dry it after use: Dry your toothbrush thoroughly between brushings and avoid using toothbrush covers, which can create a moist enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.

Store it upright. Store your toothbrush upright in a holder, rather than lying it down.

Keep it to yourself: Never share a toothbrush and avoid storing it side-by-side in the same container with other people’s brushes.

Ultraviolet Light: Studies indicate that ultraviolet light can be effective in killing germs on toothbrushes and are able to kill many of the bacteria, yeasts, and viruses. A study conducted at New York University Medical Center on countertop ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizers found that this device eliminated up to 99.9 percent of bacteria tested on toothbrushes.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: Cheaper than an ultraviolet device and a measure perhaps just as effective could be the practice of rinsing your toothbrush after each use with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is antibacterial, antifungal, kills mold and mildew and when used properly, it is non-toxic for humans, plants, household animals.

Best practice: keep it clean and keep on brushing

Now that you know how to keep your toothbrush truly clean and germ free as a way to protect yourself and your family from harmful bacteria, it is also important to choose a brush that will do the work of keeping your teeth clean without harming the delicate surface of the tooth or gums. Choose a brush with soft or medium bristles, as they are gentler on the gums and may actually clean better because they’re more flexible. Brush twice a day, at least two minutes each time and rinse your mouth after sugary or starchy snacks. Replace your toothbrush frequently. These practices combined with visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings will help to ensure that you have a lifelong healthy smile.