Holistic dentistry comes from the philosophy that the health of your mouth can effect your health and your over all well being.
Any sort of infection in the mouth can burden the immune system, can spread to other parts of the body and this is very well documented in scientific literature.
Infections from the tooth or gum area can spread into distant parts of the body and can cause heart problems, brain abscess and can lead to the death of a person. Therefore, it is very important to address the health of the mouth, first and foremost, from the point of eliminating any acute and chronic infections.
The second aspect of practicing Holistic Dentistry is looking at the materials within the oral cavity.
One of the most prevalent restorative materials of the past 200 years has been the mercury-silver amalgam or dental amalgam. It is over 50% mercury and about 35% silver with the remainder variable metals such as copper, tin and other fillers.
The reason that amalgam, or silver-mercury fillings, have been prevalent for hundreds of years is because the material is durable and the fillings are easy to place in a tooth cavity area, requiring very little expertise or isolation.
Much research by prominent scientists, some of whom have been featured by the Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, demonstrates that there is a release of mercury vapor from these restorations which actually intensifies with heat, chewing, grinding and anything acidic within the oral cavity.
Mercury is a known neuro-toxic material - there is no debate on that within the scientific community. The only debate concerns what the safe limit of mercury is within your body.
The effect of Mercury, like most toxic materials, is additive. If we have 7 or 3 or 2 mercury fillings, on top of that a diet high in certain foods, such as tuna, and a number of environmental exposures, then it's all additive.
Additional research indicates that about 5% of the population has a hard time eliminating toxins, in general, and mercury being a toxic material, falls within that category. Depending upon the genetic makeup of an individual, that individual may be able to eliminate some or a good amount of that toxic substance.
However, 5% of the population has a difficult time eliminating toxic materials (due to detoxification pathways within the liver and kidneys).
For that group, the toxic effects become much more of an issue. This may be the portion of the population that we see with more prevalence of problems that are a more of a mystery such as autism, movement disorders, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and so forth.
To this day we do not have a good measuring tool to determine who is able to detoxify toxins and who is not. At this stage it is not possible to discern who is at risk and who is not. Therefore, it is important to avoid toxic materials as much as possible and adhere to a regimen where we are minimizing the presence of toxic materials within our system.
One of the things that patients who are seeking more of a holistic environment often desire is the removal of silver=mercury fillings.
Coming Next: Removal of amalgam fillings -- Precautions and more...