The Search for Optimal Health
By Ingo G. Mahn, DDS, AIAOMT, Doctor of Integrative Medicine
   Imagine the following scenario. A while back you started feeling poorly. You went to see a number of different practitioners, but despite taking all of the prescribed pills, supplements and treatments, you only achieved minimal improvement.
   If suddenly you became aware of a toxic metal or an infection in your body what would you do? Your first reaction would surely be: “What do I have to do to get rid of this problem!“
   That may sound obvious, but many people are unaware that this is exactly what they do have going on in their body! However, as a holistic dentist I know exactly where it is – the mouth! Sadly, in most cases neither the patient nor their health care practitioners are even aware of what’s going on. In the search for optimal health, oral infections and toxic heavy metals are often left untreated – yet both of these conditions can have tremendous adverse effects.
   Just how important of a factor is your oral health? Consider a statement by
German physician Dr. Reinhold Voll – “Based on 40 years of research, I estimate 80% of
all illness to be related entirely or partially to problems in the mouth.” WOW – 80%!
   He made this claim almost 50 years ago, but it took a recent study linking gum disease to heart disease (as well as diabetes) for the conventional dental community to finally take notice. And though this particular relationship is only the tip of the iceberg, it actually represents a huge shift in the mindset of the conventional dental profession.
   Why? For years holistically minded dentists have been losing their license for even suggesting that patients could improve their overall health by first improving the health of their mouths – these holistic dental pioneers were sometimes accused of
“practicing medicine without a license”. In contrast, today’s dental journals and leading clinicians foresee the future of the dentist as “the Physician of the Mouth”.
   This makes me cautiously optimistic that the next step will be for dentistry to consider some of the other dental issues that can adversely affect a patient’s overall health.
   So what are these other issues in dentistry?
1. Mercury (“Silver” or Amalgam filling) – for years the American Dental Association (ADA) claimed that NO amount of this potent neurotoxin is released from amalgams. They now admit “insignificant” amounts of mercury are indeed released from these
fillings – a tough argument to make considering studies show NO level of mercury to be safe. Even short term exposure to very small amounts can cause symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances and memory loss. If you still have amalgams in
your mouth, SAFE removal by a holistic dentist is CRITICAL. Just as important is replacement with a biocompatible composite (white) filling material.
2. Fluoride – “There is evidence that fluoridation increases the incidence of cancer, hip fractures, joint problems, and that by causing fluorosis it damages both teeth and bones. Other medical problems may also occur, including neurologic damage. Proponents of
fluoridation have censored most media, ignored intelligent discussion of fluoridation, slandered most opponents of fluoridation, and overturned legal judgments against fluoridation in a manner that demonstrates their political power. Many published studies
that had conclusions favoring fluoridation were later found unsupported by their raw data. Fluoridation of municipal water should cease. De-fluoridation of naturally fluoridated water down to 0.4 ppm of fluoride should be mandated. Individuals should
remove fluoride from their tap water if fluoridation cannot be stopped.” This was the conclusion of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol 10, No 2, Summer 2005 after reviewing all of the available research and literature regarding fluoridation.
3. Root Canals– once the nerve in a tooth dies, bacteria can enter the space previously occupied by the nerve and cause an infection. Root canals remove the infection only in the main canals and a filling material is then placed to prevent further infection.
Problems arise because the root of a tooth is actually composed of millions of small tubules. Unfortunately, in a dead tooth, these tubules may harbor bacteria capable of producing powerful toxins. Dr. Weston Price, a highly respected researcher with the
American Dental Association, was the first to demonstrate the disease causing ability of toxic root canal teeth. Many holistic dentists recommend the removal of all dead teeth. Fortunately not all dead teeth become toxic and some of these teeth can be saved with
the use of alternative therapies (i.e. Laser therapy, biocompatible filling materials and infiltration of ozonated oxygen).
4. Cavitations– also known as NICO lesions. Necrotic and sometimes infected areas of bone in the jaw, they are difficult to diagnose with conventional x-rays. These lesions can be a hiding place for disease causing toxins and bacteria. Even though conventional
dentists vehemently deny the existence of these lesions, Dr. G.V. Black, who is considered to be the “father of modern dentistry”, first described and named this condition. Each of these issues on it’s own can seriously affect the ability of an individual to
achieve optimal health. When found in combination, as they often are (for example amalgams and root canals or root canals and cavitations) the health consequences can be devastating. This makes a properly trained holistic dentist an important and NECESSARY member of the integrative health-care team.