Biological Dentistry

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Biological dentistry is the replacement of dental fillings with nonmetallic material. It is based on the belief that materials currently used in fillings, such as mercury, tin, copper, silver, and sometimes zinc, contain toxins that cause hidden dental infections, which pose serious health risks to the body's organs and physiologic systems. Advocates of biological dentistry believe that accepted forms of dental treatment may harm not only the teeth and mouth, but also the health of the entire body. They also believe that physical problems in the body manifest themselves in the mouth.

Biological dentists believe that the material used to fill cavities causes cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and almost all other chronic illnesses.

What It Is

Biological dentistry is the use of "alternative" (unproven) treatments for problems of the teeth, gums, jaws, and mouth as well as disorders throughout the body. Biological dentists believe that treating the mouth is a method of treating the body and curing its diseases.

Examples of illnesses and problems that biological dentists aim to cure, in addition to cancer, include tinnitus (a ringing noise in the ear), vertigo, epilepsy, hearing loss, eye problems, sinusitis, joint pain, kidney problems, digestive disorders and heart disease.

Along with mouth and dental work, biological dentists also use additional alternative treatments such as "neural therapy," urging patients to avoid fluoridated water, oral acupuncture, cold laser surgery, homeopathy, and other unproven, unconventional techniques. These are briefly described below.

"Neural Therapy". This is based on the belief that "biological energy" flows throughout the body, but can become imbalanced or short-circuited. Biological dentists apply "to restore that balance by injecting a local anesthetic around the tooth thought to correspond to a particular body organ. That is said to remove the block and restore energy flow. This idea is similar to the concepts behind Traditional Chinese Medicine and other ancient beliefs described in Part One.

Fluoridation. A Communist plot? Fluoride is an essential element that occurs in all natural water supplies. One part per million reduces dental cavities. Fluoride is added to water supplies that are too low in this natural element. When introduced in the mid 1940s in the United States, fluoridation was attacked by some groups as a Communist plot. Despite a substantial history of successful, nontoxic use of fluoridated water in former Communist countries and elsewhere, biological dentists and some other groups continue to believe that fluoridated water is toxic. Global evidence does not support this notion.

Oral Acupuncture. This procedure involves the injection of salt water, weakened local anesthetics, or homeopathic remedies into acupuncture points in the mouth (see Chapter 1). Oral acupuncture injections are used to relieve pain during dental procedures and treat sinusitis, allergies, digestive problems, and neuralgia (pain from damaged nerves).

Cold Laser Surgery. This alternative form of acupuncture is much like oral acupuncture, but without the injections. It involves the use of a laser light beam aimed at an acupoint. Proponents claim that cold laser therapy kills bacteria associated with dental work, aids in wound healing, and reduces swelling. It is also applied to treat TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome).

Homeopathic Remedies (see Chapter 3). These are used to relieve pain associated with teeth, gum, jaw, or other mouth problems. It is used typically as a temporary remedy until proper dental treatment can be obtained.

Mouth Balancing. This procedure includes analyzing the muscles of the mouth and the skull, and creating orthopedic braces for the mouth to realign the jaw and alleviate problems such as TMJ, headaches, eye problems, and over- or underbite. Although aspects of mouth balancing sound similar to methods used in the branch of conventional dentistry called orthodontics, mouth balancing is not used in mainstream dentistry, because its procedures and ideas goals are not considered acceptable.

Nutrition Biological Dentistry. This includes the use of nutritional supplements such as magnesium, selenium, vitamins C and E, folic acid, and digestive enzymes. These are used to treat the presumed mercury toxicity, which is believed to be caused by traditional cavity fillings. The supplements are thought to help the body get rid of mercury and to encourage healing of presumably damaged tissues throughout the body.

What Practitioners Say It Does

Proponents of biological dentistry believe that conventional dentistry causes most of the dental and medical problems that people experience. They say that alternative biological dentistry can cure these problems.

Beliefs on Which It Is Based

Biological dentistry is based on alternative beliefs concerning the cause of disease. Problems treated by biological dentists and their understanding of what causes these problems have no basis in scientific fact.

The basic beliefs the idea include that bacteria and other toxins from previous dental procedures leak from the conventional filling material and harm the immune system, weakening the body and resulting in disease. Another belief is that each tooth relates to a particular body organ, much in the way that acupoints are believed related to distant body parts. An infected tooth means that the corresponding organ also is infected; treating the infected tooth is believed to treat its corresponding diseased organ at the same time.

Root-canal procedures are said to be the cause of serious Illnesses, and dental fillings are believed to release mercury, tin, copper, silver and zinc into the body, where they break up into charged atoms and create the illnesses and allergies. Therefore, biological dentists recommend replacing all metal fillings with "natural, nontoxic, biocompatible" material. Another example of these unfounded beliefs in that electricity is created by dental fillings, which may cause lack of concentration, memory loss, insomnia, psychological problems, tinnitus, vertigo, epilepsy, hearing loss, and eye disorders.

Research Evidence to Date

Testimonials are presented by proponents because no scientific data support their claims. Scientific research has disproved the claims of biological dentistry. In 1987, the American Dental Association amended its code, declaring the removal of clinically serviceable mercury amalgams to be unethical. Dentists who remove serviceable fillings may have their licenses removed.

Several scientific studies have shown, contrary to the claims of biological dentistry, that dental amalgam is well accepted physiologically and does not hinder wound healing following dental work. Moreover, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a conference in 1991 on "The Effects and Side Effects of Dental Restorative Materials." These national experts, following study and discussion, concluded that there is no evidence to support the idea that dental fillings cause problems.

What It Can Do for You

Advocates claim that biological dentistry is a healthier alternative to conventional dentistry. Having one's dental fillings removed and replaced may cause pain in the mouth as well as the pocketbook, but research shows that it does not help dental or medical problems.

It is important to note that toxicity is a function of amount. Tiny fractions of many minerals are required by the body, but ingesting large amounts of those same minerals can be poisonous (see Chapter 8). The amount of minerals released by dental fillings, if any, is too small to have any impact on body function.

Where to Get It

For information about modern dentistry, contact the American Dental Association or the Dental Association of your country on the Internet. A copy of the U.S. National Institutes of Health report, "Effects and Side Effects of Dental Restorative Materials" is available on the Internet: http://consensus.

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