Good Oral Health Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer and Other Diseases

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Oral health is often a neglected area of health care that if left unattended to, can contribute to disease in the body. General health and oral health are inseparable, so good oral hygiene is essential to overall well being. The mouth is the gateway through which infection can travel to other parts of the body.

Bleeding gums are one such point of entry. We have more bacteria in our mouth than any other animal, and oral bacteria can negatively effect our immune system and damage organs such as the heart and lungs. Oral bacteria cells have been found in pancreatic cancer tumors as well as in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

On the other hand, people with diabetes who have good oral health also have better glucose readings.

To help their clients achieve optimal oral health, biological dentists pay particular attention to minimizing the use of toxic chemicals, safely removing amalgam fillings, and dealing appropriately with root canals.

Amalgam Fillings and Mercury

Dental amalgams, which appear as silver fillings in the mouth, are 50% mercury. According to some studies mercury from dental amalgam fillings is the number one source of mercury exposure in humans, exceeding any other sources such as fish.[1]

Mercury vapors do not remain locked in the mouth. They are triggered when we drink hot liquids or eat warm foods, and small amounts leak out daily.[2] If the temperature in the mouth is over 14 degrees C, as is always the case, dental amalgam continues to vaporize and small amounts of the mercury leak out.

Mercury vapor is released by chewing things such as grains, nuts, seeds and gum. Grinding and clenching teeth also releases mercury vapor. Studies have found that after chewing food, people with amalgam fillings have almost 20 times more mercury vapor in their mouths than those without mercury fillings.[3]

Dental materials in the mouth, such as amalgam, enter the body through mucosal membranes or blood. They can also be inhaled directly into the lungs, thus bypassing the gastrointestinal tract where substances canmore easily get expelled by vomiting them up or excreting via the bowels. For example, if a person were to swallow a chunk of dental amalgam, he or she would absorb only 10% of the mercury as it made its way thru the stomach lining. The majority would be excreted by the bowels.

However if we took the same amount of amalgam and pulverized it, as is the case when the filling is drilled out, we’d absorb 80% of the mercury via our lungs into our body.[4] So breathing it in is potentially eight times more damaging than swallowing it. Once the material gets through the mucosal membranes or into the lungs it is more readily absorbed into other organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys and fatty tissue where it’s harder for the body to rid itself of this heavy metal.

Studies have linked dental amalgam to psychological and neurological problems, and to cardiac and immune system issues.[5]

While silver amalgam fillings were once considered acceptable in the mouth, today we are exposed to many more chemicals in our environment such as pesticides, processed ingredients in food, and various other contaminants. We don’t have the same level of adaptability that we had several decades ago, and mercury in amalgam contributes to the chemical overload in the body.

If you want to have your amalgam fillings removed, be sure to have it done by a dentist who has special equipment to remove it safely. The removal process is very important because the mercury vapors can affect your thyroid within 30 seconds if you are not protected.

Root Canals

Root canals are another loaded issue. If a dentist recommends having a root canal, many holistic or biological dentists suggest getting a second opinion. Sometimes the tooth is not dead or infected and if there is only an inflammation, a dentist may be able to save it by injecting a homeopathic anti-inflammatory substance into the tooth tissue. If the root canal tooth cannot be saved, there are two possible routes: one is to have the root canal done and keep the tooth. The other is to have the tooth in question extracted.

If a root canal is performed, the infection in the tooth should be cleaned, disinfected, and sealed. However many articles report that its impossible to adequately clean out the millions of side canals, or denim tubules, therefore root canals remain chronically infected. Studies show that various types of yeast can populate the root canal and dentin tubules of the teeth.[6]

Antibiotics may be helpful in getting rid of infection in the bone and around the tooth. However they may not reach the tubules where there is no blood supply to the tooth, meaning that the blood which would otherwise carry the antibiotics cannot get inside the canals. Any residual toxins are able to travel down through the gum ligament bone and blood stream and on to organs and tissue around the body.[7]

With chronically infected root canals, the immune system is then permanently on call fighting a low-grade infection and ready to trigger an inflammatory response. (Tumours are created though an inflammatory process). This may manifest itself in joint issues, valves, breast tissue, and so on.

Removing a Root Canal: Managing the Gap with Implants, Partial Dentures and Bridges

Some holistic or biological dentists recommend removing the tooth since a treated root canal may continue to produce toxins such as yeast and endotoxins which may cause chronic low grade infections.[8]

Once the tooth is out, you can either choose to go without a tooth, have a partial denture, a fixed bridge, or an implant. Dental implants have become very popular these days. A dental implant exercises the jaw bone and stops it disintegrating. In the past, titanium implants have been most commonly used. But a new generation of implants from zirconium are even more biocompatible.

Some medical practitioners believe that an implant is a foreign body and can therefore generate inflammation. Therefore implants may be contraindicated for smokers, uncontrolled diabetics, and people with compromised immune systems such as those who have had cancer in the last 10 years.

With respect to cancer and teeth, studies have found a smorgasbord of heavy metals used in dentistry such as nickel, chromium, cadmium and mercury in breast tissue of women with breast cancer. [9] Traditional Chinese medicine notes that teeth are on acupuncture meridians related to different organs. Meridians that connect a particular tooth to an organ in the body can become blocked due to chronic infection and the associated organ then becomes ill. One dentist I spoke with said (anecdotally) that many patients who came to her office with breast cancer also had a history of issues such as infected teeth, root canals, hidden infections, toxic restorations and metal implants on the same side of the body as their breast tumour.

To summarize, avoiding the use of toxic chemicals in the mouth, and removing the source of any infections, can prevent disease and contribute to overall good health.


1] Mutter, J. (2011) Is dental amalgam safe for humans? The opinion of the scientific committee of the European Commission. Journal of Occupational Medicine Toxicology, 6(2).

2] Cox, R. D., & Reinhardt, J. W. (1979). Chewing releases mercury from fillings. Lancet, 313(8123), 985-986.

3] Abraham, J. E., Svare, C. W., & Frank, C. W. (1984). The effect of dental amalgam restorations on blood mercury levels. Journal of Dental Research, 63(1), 71-73.

4] Lorscheider, F. L., Vimy, M. J., & Summers, A. O. (1995). Mercury exposure from “silver” tooth fillings: Emerging evidence questions a traditional dental paradigm. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 9(44), 504-508.

5] Just, A., & Kall, J. (2017, July 31). Seven common misconceptions about dental mercury. International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology. Retrieved from

6] Waltimo, T. M. T., Sen, B. H., Meurman, J. H., Orstavik, D., & Haapasalo, M. P. P. (2003). Yeasts in apical periodontitis. Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine, 14(2), 128

7] Kulacz, R., & Levy, T. E. (2014). The toxic tooth: How a root canal could be making you sick. Henderson, NV: Medfox Publishing.

8] Haapasalo, M., Udnas, T., & Endal, U. (2004) Persistent, recurrent and acquired infection of the root canal system post-treatment. Endodontic Topics, 6(2).

9] Ionescu, J. G., Novotny, J., Stejskal, V., Lätsch, A., Blaurock-Busch, E., & Eisenmann-Klein, M. (2007). Increased levels of transition metals in breast cancer tissue. Neuro Endocrinology Letters, 27(Suppl. 1), 36-39. Retrieved from .1111/j.1601-1546.2003.00041.x

The information in this article is drawn from the book “If Only I Had Known: Integrative and Alternative Paths to Recovery from Breast Cancer’,by Aviva Mayers. It was published in August 2019 by Friesen Press and is available on the Book webcite at or by contacting the author directly at


• FORTINSKY DENTISTRY: At Fortinsky Dentistry, their mission is to help patients achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles through a holistic approach. Located at: 25 Sheppard Ave W #680, Toronto, ON M2N 6S6, Canada Call: 416-225-352 or visit:

• THE INTEGRATIVE HEALTH GROUP is a whole-body dental health and integrative medicine clinic with special emphasis on dental distress, TMJ, Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs), periodontal (gum), oral diseases and associated systemic inflammatory disorders. Call (416) 477-2395. Office located at: 2190 Warden Avenue, Suite 208, Toronto, ON. M1T 1V6  Email:

Aviva Mayers was born in the UK, raised in Canada, and has worked as a clinical social worker in Canada, the UK, the US , and Norway. She trained as a psychoanalyst in New York, and subsequently pursued a doctorate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Aviva now lives in Toronto where as a psychoanalyst she offers psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and sex therapy to individuals and couples in her private practice. She feels her experience with breast cancer has taught her that if we take responsibility for our own health by informing ourselves and employing interventions that make sense to us, we can improve our health and transform our lives. Visit her website at: or email:

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