Saturday, February 7, 2009

Are Mercury Fillings Really Safe?

You may be fastidious about protecting your health – monitoring your diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding additives and toxins – but if you've got fillings in your teeth, your body may be more polluted than you know. That's because silver amalgam, a commonly used cavity filler, consists of about 50% mercury. According to a report by the Australian Society of Oral Medicine and Toxicology citing numerous scientific studies, mercury can have some detrimental effects on our bodies:

• can cause neurological problems
• can cause kidney damage
• can cause disturbances to various metabolic processes
• is freely transported in the blood
• crosses the blood brain barrier
• crosses the placenta
• crosses into breast milk
• transported freely in the blood
• reduces reproductive function
• rapidly depletes the immune system
• mercury from amalgam is absorbed into the body at a rate of 3 to 17 mcg/day (World Health Organization)
• binds to hemoglobin
• damages blood vessels
• can cause single strand breaks in DNA
• may have connection with Alzheimer's Disease

The American Dental Association has said that the studies done on amalgam fillings show there's no evidence that they are harmful. The Food and Drug Administration cautiously agrees, but is “investigating” more closely and is expected to release a final report by summer of 2009. In my opinion, even if there is the slightest possible risk to our health why continue to advocate the usage or endorse the safety of mercury fillings?

For those who are concerned, amalgam fillings can be replaced with composite resin, a tooth-colored material that is being used more frequently to repair cavities. Resin fillings are gaining popularity because their color blends in with the tooth, making them more aesthetic, and because the material has continued to improve for the past few years. The only drawback is that resin fillings may have to be replaced more often than amalgams – but if it means ridding your body of harmful mercury, it may be worth the extra trips to the dentist.

** Extreme care and caution must be used during the removal of mercury fillings to ensure minimal spreading of the mercury outside the localized area. Although rubber dams and suction are some of the ways to prevent this, it is virtually impossible to assume that none of the mercury leeches into the oral cavity or even into circulation via the bloodstream. Intravenous (IV) chelation therapy should be started concurrently to ensure maximal removal of mercury from the body which can take 6-12 months to complete. A blood and urine test can be a reliable way to determine levels but only if the body is provoked prior to testing by an oral or IV chelator. This forces the metal out of our adipose tissue and into circulation. **

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