Worldwide, it’s estimated that more than 180 million people have teeth the have been repaired with some sort of dental restorative material. In total, that’s a staggering 1.4 billion teeth. From the 1950s through present day, one of the most common dental restoratives has always been dental amalgam. Often called “silver fillings,” this metallic mixture is prepared with up to 50% or more liquid mercury. Poisoning from these “mercury fillings” is a risk that holistic dental professionals are quick to warn patients about, even though agencies like the American Dental Association refuse to formally acknowledge any potential health problems associated with their use.
At Assure A Smile, we take a holistic approach to dentistry that focuses on both oral health and total body wellness. We believe patients should be educated about mercury poisoning, dental amalgam, and the long-term health risks associated with silver fillings.
We welcome patients and Miami families to learn more about the risk of dental amalgam and mercury poisoning using the guide below.
What is Methylmercury Poisoning?
Methylmercury is a unique form of mercury that is sometimes used to preserve seed grain (i). It has bio-accumulative properties, which means it stays in the body tissue of the organism that consumes it. In this way, methylmercury is easily transferred from seed/grain feed to livestock animals, and finally on to human consumers.
Methylmercury poisoning typically happens as the result of eating other food products that contain mercury. Most notable are fish and shellfish, a source of mercury that the Environmental Protection Agency adamantly advises pregnant women to avoid. Unlike land-based livestock, it is very common for fish to eat other mercury-containing fish before being caught, sold, and consumed. This is how some fish and shellfish come to have such high concentrations of methylmercury. It is also why they are so dangerous for pregnant mothers and young children to eat.
Methylmercury poisoning effects and symptoms vary depending on how exposure occurs. Where the mercury comes from, how it enters the body, and how long it stays there are just a few things that play a significant role in how mercury poisoning affects the body.
Symptoms of Methylmercury Poisoning
According to MedlinePlus, a service provided by the National Institute of Health (NIH), symptoms of methylmercury poising include the following:
- Vision problems, including impairment of peripheral vision and partial/complete blindness
- Cerebral palsy
- Hearing problems, including partial and/or total deafness
- Growth problems
- Intellectual disability
The above side effects are typically the result of the damage methyl mercury inflicts on the major organ systems of the body. Most significantly, mercury poisoning is known to severely impair brain development and central nervous system function.
Methylmercury Poisoning from Dental Fillings
With such well-documented side effects and health concerns, one cannot help but ask why the American Dental Association has not yet banned the use of dental amalgam. Biocompatible (non toxic) alternatives are available, however not all dentists offer them. Moreover, not all patients know to ask for these safe alternatives, like white composite fillings. The tide is slowly changing, however, thanks in part to the mainstream media coverage that mercury and dental amalgam have received over the past couple years.
Perhaps the biggest and most widely covered event occurred last year when the Dr. Oz Show performed a live demonstration on how silver fillings can release mercury vapor. During the segment, Dr. Gerard Curatola, DDS explains:
“In 1982, the ADA was saying that the mercury was ‘locked in’ [to the filling]. But we know now that there is mercury vapor. It is acknowledged.”
Watch the video. Watch as Dr. Oz demonstrates how brushing over silver fillings with an ordinary toothbrush may cause them to leak toxic mercury vapor. Visit Doctoroz.com to view this special segment Toxic Teeth: Are Mercury Fillings Making You Sick?.
Testing for Mercury and Heavy Metal Poisoning
Since 1989, Miami families have trusted Assure A Smile for safe, holistic dental care that improves oral health and total body wellness. To learn if you are at risk for mercury poisoning from mercury fillings or exposure to environmental toxins, contact Assure A Smile at 305-274-0047.
(i) Methylmerury poisoning. Medline Plus. Accessed 7 August, 2014.