I can't remember exactly how long I've been battling the absurd notion of using mercury to fill a cavity. It's just such an obviously dangerous, toxic, stupid thing to do. Before everything went digital, I'm sure you remember those mercury-filled thermometers. How many moms have placed one of them under a child's tongue with strict instructions NOT TO BITE? You don't have to go to Harvard to know that mercury is deadly.
Yet despite overwhelming evidence, organizations like the Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association have insisted for decades that it's perfectly safe.
Until now. In some of the biggest news I've delivered to you in a long time:
The FDA has officially changed its stance on mercury fillings.
Check out what it says on the FDA's Web site: "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses. When amalgam fillings are placed in teeth or removed from teeth, they release mercury vapor. Mercury vapor is also released during chewing. FDA's rulemaking will examine evidence concerning whether release of mercury vapor can cause health problems, including neurological disorders, in children and fetuses."
It's no small wonder that the ADA's Web site no longer points to the FDA to back up its stance on amalgam fillings. They have a white-knuckle grip on mercury fillings that refuses to let go. Have you ever wondered why that is? I think I have the answer.
Silver fillings--a cheaper way to fix a cavity
Most people don't realize that back in the 1800s, when dentists first began using amalgams, all of the major dental organizations were against it. Members of the American Society of Dental Surgeons had to sign pledges that they wouldn't use them. If a member of the Society of Dentists of the City and State of New York was caught using amalgams, he would be suspended for malpractice.
Why then, with all of the initial resistance, did the use of amalgam fillings continue to grow in popularity? And why does the majority of the dental industry continue to insist that it's perfectly safe? I don't mean to be the perpetual pessimist, but the answer comes down to money.
Before the advent of silver amalgams, most dentists used gold. But once they discovered that amalgams were much cheaper and easier to work with than gold, it was full speed ahead. Using them saved the dentists time AND money. Since time IS money, it means it saved the dentists money andmore money.
But over the years, as more and more evidence has poured in showing the heath risks of mercury exposure, the ADA has continued to stick to its guns. I would too, if I were them. Do you know how many people out there have this stuff in their mouths? Let's just say that if you're fortunate enough to have escaped getting a cavity in this sugar-addicted society, you're one of the lucky ones. So just imagine the legal repercussions awaiting the dental industry when these millions upon billions of people realize their dentists have been poisoning them--and making THEM pay for it.
Evidence stacks up against mercury
Mercury amalgam fillings leak mercury into your system at an alarming rate. Researchers discovered that when they stimulated an amalgam filling, they could actually see the mercury vapor emanating from the filling for at least an hour and a half. It doesn't take much to stimulate a filling, either: It happens every time you eat, brush your teeth, chew gum, or grind your teeth.
Even in the absence of a mammoth study specifically targeting mercury amalgam fillings, there's plenty of evidence out there damning them. I've written about research that has shown dental fillings to be the greatest single source of mercury exposure in humans. Mercury is known to accumulate in your major organs and tissues--including your heart and brain.
A lifetime's exposure to the vapors emitted by these fillings has been linked to serious autoimmune diseases like lupus and MS. Another study, from the University of Texas, showed a clear relationship between atmospheric mercury vapors inhaled by expectant mothers and a 17-percent increase in autism rates among their newborns.
Mercury can even affect your emotional stability. Are you familiar with the expression, "mad as a hatter"? The Mad Hatter might have made his debut in Alice in Wonderland, but the expression was coined when workers who used mercury in the hat-making process developed symptoms of mental deterioration.
Dangers of removing silver fillings
I don't blame you if evidence like this makes you want to get every last trace of mercury out of your mouth. Unfortunately, having a mercury filling removed isn't as easy as it sounds. The extraction of the mercury produces levels much higher than those present when the mercury is left in the mouth. And if the dentist isn't knowledgeable in the proper extraction method, he can cause more harm than good. Unless the doctor wears protective headgear, uses a good ventilator system, and follows proper disposal protocols, he could severely intoxicate the patient, his staff members, and himself when he removes the fillings. (Yet they say the fillings won't harm you)
So what should you do? Your best option is to go to a dentist who understands the hazards of using mercury fillings and knows the safest procedures for removing them. To take the guesswork out of finding the right dentist, you can choose one from the network of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology dentists. They have all been through an accreditation program and know the latest techniques to keep you safe. To find an IAOMT dentist in your area, visit their Web site,www.iaomt.org, click on "Find a Dentist," and enter your state and ZIP code.
Your role in the FDA's decision
I'd like to say a hearty thank you to all of you who responded to my call to action to send the FDA comments on how it should classify mercury fillings. Back in May, under the "Act Now" section of my Web site, I let you know that the FDA had just opened up to public comment a rule that would determine how mercury fillings would be classified. I told you that the proposed rule would place precapsulated amalgam fillings in Class II, where no one would need to prove that they're safe.
One reader shared with me the comments he sent to the FDA, and I'd like to share it here with you: "Mercury is toxic, according to many sources, including the FDA who warn people off large fish due to mercury content, and HazMat teams who show up in full gear to clean up a broken thermometer found in the street.
Mental and physical afflictions are tied to mercury exposure. What sensibility approves using mercury, in any form, in dental fillings where over a period of years/decades it can do a multitude of mischiefs? Classify it as a poison, and forbid its use in dental fillings, vaccinations, and wherever else it's liable to be ingested, inhaled, or injected."
It was comments like this one from readers like you, combined with other petitions, Congressional hearings, scientific advisory committee hearings, letters, and more that led to this monumental victory in the battle against mercury fillings.
The dental mercury victory is just one example of how persistence pays off. That's why I've dedicated a section of my Web site to letting you know about specific actions you can take to counteract the mainstream's faulty ideas of good medicine. If you haven't gone there recently, why don't you check it out at www.DouglassReport.com? I'm always updating it with the latest information, so be sure to check in on a regular basis to see what current issue you can have an impact on.