By Dr. Karen Shrimplin
Dr. Weston Price, a renowned dental research specialist, observed many patients with crippling degenerative diseases who did not respond to treatment. He suspected infected root canal teeth to be the culprit. He developed a testing method that revealed the presence of infection in a tooth. By implanting a root filled tooth from a patient under the skin of a laboratory animal, usually a rabbit, he found that in almost every case the animal would develop the same disease as the patient, lose weight, and often times would die. Later, Dr. Price found he could embed small pieces of the root instead of the entire tooth, or pulverize the teeth and inject the powder and cause the same results. Eventually, he found he could culture the bacteria found in a root filled tooth and inject the toxins from it into the laboratory animal and reproduce the disease from the toxins alone. It is important to note that when he implanted sterile objects or uninfected natural teeth, such as those removed for orthodontic purposes, no adverse health effects resulted.
Dr. Price found many types of degenerative diseases, including endocarditis, other heart diseases, kidney and bladder diseases, arthritis, rheumatism, mental diseases, lung problems and other degenerative diseases could be transferred to laboratory animals. He also found that a large percentage of patients recovered from their illnesses after the root filled teeth were extracted.
The primary bacteria in root canals found by Dr. Price included streptococcus, staphylococcus, and spirochetes. He found 90 percent of bacteria in the teeth that produced the patients' acute diseases in the animals were streptococcus, and 65.5 percent of the time they belonged to the fecalis family. Bacteriologists today have confirmed that Price's discoveries were accurate.
The hard, solid appearing dentin, which makes up the majority of the tooth's structure, is actually made up of microscopic tubules that transport nutrients from the tooths blood supply to all parts of the tooth. In spite of the seeming success of root canal therapy, Price discovered that the bacteria that caused the infection penetrated most of the dentin tubules and were not destroyed during the supposed sterilization process during root canal therapy. In addition, he found these bacteria to be polymorphic - they mutated, became smaller in size, thrived in the absence of oxygen, became more virulent, and their toxins became more poisonous. Dr. Price did further research and found that bacteria trapped in the roots of teeth did not escape through the cementum, which covers the dentin; however, the toxins generated by the bacteria were able to pass through the cementum. He also found the bacteria escaped into the bloodstream through minuscule spaces in all root canal filling materials.
Although many dentists believe that the sterilizing medicaments they are using in root canal therapy are very efficient, through the use of several tests, Dr. Price found that after 24-48 hours the medicaments lost their disinfecting ability. Even extracted teeth, which were heat sterilized, did not remain sterile. More disconcerting was the discovery that bacteria were not only present in the roots of the teeth and cementum, but they were also in the first few millimeters of adjacent bone in the jaw.
After reviewing the scientific literature, Price found information about blood changes that occurred in patients with root canals to be nonexistent, so he took it upon himself to conduct extensive blood studies of patients and animals to determine the side effects of root canals. After performing thousands of tests, he found the following results:
In over 1400 patients, he studied three different types of root end infections; granulomas, cysts, and condensing osteitis, and he was surprised by what he discovered. He found that when pus was present very few bacteria were present, no matter how large an area was involved. He interpreted this to mean that the immune system was in control of the infection process. Furthermore, he found these patients to be in relatively good overall health without systemic illnesses.
On the other hand, the condensing osteitis cases proved to be quite different. In depth studies and patient histories revealed these individuals suffered more serious consequences from their infections; the immune system was not in control of the infection process, and the body was trying to wall off the infected area with dense bone to contain the infection. However, the tissue at the root end was incapable of controlling the bacterial growth in these cases, and consequently some bacteria escaped through the blood stream and set up diseases in other areas of the body.
The organisms that cause dental infections generally do not attack specific organs or tissues, as do bacteria that cause measles, mumps, smallpox, etc. When dental infections seem to target a specific set of tissues or organ, usually that tissue is already compromised and the patient is experiencing difficulties in that tissue or has experienced prior difficulties. When the cause of an illness is a focal infection from a tooth, tonsil, tonsil tag or cavitation, and the source of the infection is removed, the acute problem usually disappears or is ameliorated.
There are several basic problems with root canals:
Price stated that sterilization procedures and root filling materials did not need to be perfect if the patient's immune system was adequate enough to meet such challenges. His statistics demonstrated that about 30% of those individuals who had root canals had strong enough immune systems to control the bacteria and remain in good health UNTIL these "healthy" individuals suffered a severe accident, case of the flu, pregnancy, breastfeeding, excessive worry, grief, or some other "stress" that overwhelmed their immune system to such an extent it could no longer control the toxins and bacteria coming from the root filled tooth or teeth. Then, they often developed a degenerative disease.
Price found that the heart and circulatory system was the organ most often attacked by root canal bacteria. He mentioned sixteen different heart and circulatory disease conditions as problems occurring as side effects from the presence of root canal filled teeth. The major cause for infective endocarditis, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter in 1986, was the streptococcus veridans family of bacteria; the same one Price found most often was involved with infected teeth. It has also been observed that patients with cavitations in wisdom teeth areas often experience cardiac difficulties.
When Price realized the tremendous detrimental health impact of root canals, he then turned to solving the problem. His approach to solving this problem was to prevent it from occurring by eliminating tooth decay. He then proceeded to conduct thousands of blood and saliva experiments on humans and animals to determine the causes of tooth decay. Dr. Price discovered the two basic causes of tooth decay were:
Research performed by Harold Hawkins DDS, Melvin Page, DDS, Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., D.M.D., and others reaffirmed Price's findings. It is interesting to note that the research also indicated that people who have tooth decay are also more susceptible to other degenerative diseases.
Unfortunately, many dentists today are pushing the use of fluoride to prevent dental caries and have failed to see that the tooth decay process is systemic, not just local in nature. They often do not understand that the ingestion of white flour products, sugar, refined grains and other similar products cause acidity of the saliva and lower calcium values. Although the hope is that in the future we will be able to eradicate infection in dentin tubules, disinfect surrounding bone and safely save teeth, the prevention of tooth decay and periodontal disease should be our immediate and primary goal.
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