How A Root Canal Could Be Making You Sick
When I was 5 years old, I remember buying a big box of pink tape gum and liquorice strings right before my family and I were about to fly from Newfoundland to our new hometown in British Columbia. “Gots’ to be prepared for the plane ride,” I mused.
But little did I know that over the course of the 7 hour flight I was blatantly over feeding the sugar-loving bacteria in my mouth, and would soon be faced with my first tooth infection at age 5. Even worse, my first root canal.
A root canal is hardly an enjoyable experience for a grown adult, let alone a 5 year old kid, and by the time I was 22, I had undergone 3 in total. Clearly, sugar had me. I was its female dog.
I never stopped to question the dental procedure itself, I mean, what kid or parent would question their dentist? All I knew was that is took away my throbbing pain, and I assume the same reasoning likely goes for the millions of patients who receive root canals every year in North America.
When A Dentist’s Perspective Changed
In a recent article by Dr. Mercola, titled “Toxic Tooth—How a Root Canal Could Be Making You Sick,” an ex-dentist from New York named Dr. Robert Kulacz tells the story of how his thoughts on root canals shifted half-way through his years of practicing dentistry:
“I did a lot of root canals for many years. Everything was going smoothly until one day, a patient of mine said to me, ‘You know, I heard from my physician that root canals may be bad; that root canals may cause or contribute to other diseases in the body.’”
Kulacz explains that he investigated his patient’s claim so that he could prove him wrong, but to his surprise, the patient was onto something:
“I looked at Weston Price’s work, the work of Rosenow, and others. I decided to go to an IAOMT meeting… Dr. Boyd Haley’s lecture on root canals and [their toxicity] changed my life. I realized I was wrong…”
From this moment onwards, Kulacz says that he changed his practice, a decision that would later put his entire profession in jeopardy.
What Patients Need To Know Before Consenting To Root Canals
Dr. Kulacz stresses that he doesn’t completely disregard root canals, but that many dentists and dental organizations and boards dismiss the list of potential risks for patients.
“[Only when] a patient is informed that these root canal teeth remain infected; that bacteria can indeed travel to other sites in the body, and that bacteria in root canal teeth and the surrounding bone release potent toxins, can the patient then decide whether or not to have a root canal,”
Many dentists believe they can sterilize a root canal tooth and that the act of instrumenting and irrigating the canal will eliminate all the bacteria, but that’s not the case, says Dr. Kulacz.
“I’ve done biopsies on every root canal tooth that I have extracted. Almost all of them have remnants of necrotic debris still in that canal meaning that they were not thoroughly cleaned. Microbiological cultures of the surrounding bone showed infection almost 100% of the time.”
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), any bacteria remaining within the tooth structure becomes “entombed,” and will no longer be of concern, something Dr. Kulacz says is not true either.
The gutta-percha, he explains, the filling material used to seal the canal, is not getting into the tiny lateral canals that branch off the main canal, so leakage is almost always possible, especially since the tooth is porous.
And even a perfectly sealed root canal cannot prevent the small molecule exotoxins produced by the bacteria inside the root canal tooth from easily migrating out of the tooth and into the body. A tooth is more like a sponge than a solid structure.
“Now, it doesn’t mean that all root canal teeth are going to cause disease. It depends upon the type of bacteria that are in there, what kind of toxins they produce, and the immune system health of the individual.
But with 25 to 30 million root canals done per year, multiply that by how many years a person is alive, there’s a lot of root canals out there. And a lot of them are not good,” says Dr. Kulacz.
Bacteria from Root Canals May Worsen Other Diseases
While the ADA states that bacteria from root canal teeth can never travel to other areas in the body, Dr. Kulacz has a different story:
“[A] study done in 2013… compared the bacterial DNA in blood clots and arterial plaque in heart attack patients to the DNA of the bacteria in the mouth.
The same bacteria found in the root canal teeth and in gum disease are found in the plaques in coronary arteries and in the blood clots that caused the heart attack.
These bacteria move from the mouth into other sites of the body like the arterial plaques. They’ve also found the same bacteria in the pericardial fluid or the fluid that surrounds the heart… In heart disease you don’t want infection and inflammation in an arterial plaque.
The presence of oral bacteria from root canal teeth and gum disease in the arterial plaque and blood clots of heart attack patients points to direct causation, rather than correlation between oral infection and cardiovascular disease.”
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