The Dental Connection Between Mold Illness and Unresolved Symptoms
Last week, we discussed the fact that although the mold and mycotoxins have been addressed in one’s surroundings, some patients fail to improve to the extent that would be expected. When this occurs, digging more deeply and reviewing a thorough history is paramount helping the patient recover. Thus, I have found, especially when treating chronic illness and disease conditions, that including the patient’s dental record and dental issues with their history will help to illuminate underlying reasons for unresolved symptoms.
Teeth and Overall Health
More than a pretty smile, the teeth and gums are areas where health may be augmented or greatly decreased, depending on many factors. Periodontal, or gum disease, and infections have long been associated with heart problems although this rarely makes it into health news headlines in current times. Infections in the oral tissues can be profoundly serious, though, as they are disseminated throughout the body and may lodge in lymphatic tissues. More dramatic are dental infections that could migrate to and begin around an abnormal heart valve. In fact, some patients with heart murmurs are given preventive antibiotics prior to any dental procedures in which gum bleeding and possible infection could occur. Then, there is the more obvious scenario of an abscessed tooth, which is, not only terribly painful, but also a potential cause for a systemic infection requiring quick action on the part of a dentist.
Lesser considered dental issues, however, are teeth which have become sub-clinically infected or compromised and have had root canals or areas where teeth may have been extracted. Root canals have long been a hot subject in environmental and integrative medicine. There are some who feel that root canals should never be done; I think that a careful and considered approach for each patient with proper after care and observation is the best way. Just like in medicine, I don’t believe there is a “one-size-fits-all” approach to dental care, although a few daily routines are salubrious for all.
What is the deal with root canals? Usually done to remove the dead nerve from dental infection from trauma, a broken or cracked tooth, or a deep cavity that may have a failed or leaking filling, the purpose is to remove the dead tissue and save the tooth. Drilling is done through the tooth down into the root(s) to extract the nerve. The area is then sanitized, and a packing material is introduced to fill the canal where the nerve(s) previously resided. In the best-case scenario and especially in those with robust immune systems, this works fine. However, there are those cases in which the area can never be completely sterilized, and various levels of infection remain around the root tip of the tooth. Then, with the action of chewing, this infection is pulsed through the lymphatics. For some patients, this may be completely without dental symptoms—no pain, no swelling, nothing to indicate that there is a problem with the tooth. At times, on sinus x-ray, particularly when the root of an upper tooth intrudes into the sinus, an abscess may be seen. Other times, such a lingering infection is only found on CT scan when further evaluation is done.
An even more controversial dental situation has to do with what are called “cavitations”. These are not cavities in the teeth but are closed over and seemingly healed areas from which a tooth was extracted. There are findings to suggest that some patients develop infections in these areas which can cause myriad symptoms, again, not only dental-related complaints. A thorough dental history should be included indicating which teeth have been extracted, such as wisdom teeth or other pre-orthodontic extractions.
For more research-based, in-depth information about the correlation between dental infections and heart problems, Dr. Thomas E. Levy, a board-certified cardiologist (and an attorney) has written several books. The Toxic Tooth is one of his books that offers a good overview of all that I have mentioned above.
When Dental Infection and Mold Illness Collide
A case I had that was quite interesting involving a dental infection preventing full recovery from mold-triggered illness is as follows:
Pam M was a 60-year-old woman who had been exposed to mold and mycotoxins in both her house in Florida after a major hurricane as well as in her townhome in Georgia. She did extensive and thorough remediation, treated all mold and hormone-induced health problems that ensued, and did much better….for a while. Then, Pam began experiencing extreme fatigue again. The fatigue got so bad; she was almost unable to walk. Reevaluating her home and surroundings showed pristine indoor air quality and no remaining mold problems. But Pam got worse and worse. A repeat of her sinus x-ray, by Dr. Dennis, showed a suspicious cloud. His thorough oral examination that followed found the problem: a root canal on a molar tooth 1 year prior had become horribly infected. Ultimately, the tooth had to be extracted. After the infected tooth was safely removed, Pam’s recovery final began to get back on course again.
Proper Evaluation BEFORE Action
I do not advocate that every root-canaled tooth be removed; however, I do think that they MUST be evaluated by a very knowledgeable oral surgeon in patients who fail to improve from mold and mycotoxins—especially when the environment and other health issues have been addressed. Special types of x-rays and scans can be done, or a bioenergetic exam through an experienced practitioner of this art can be done if access to a qualified oral surgeon is cost prohibitive or inaccessible. These are also preferred methods of detecting cavitations and helping to direct treatment there, if needed.
Periodontal Disease and Chronic Illness
Finally, a word about periodontal disease. Even with the best of home dental hygiene programs, some patients seem to just be more prone to periodontal issues. Partly genetic and impacted by certain medications, the gums can be a source of chronic infection that is another rock in the total body load/immune system bucket. Daily flossing and/or Waterpik usage can decrease the bacteria in the gum line that then causes plaque, a biofilm, that further protects the bacteria and damages the teeth. One may have perfect teeth and yet loose them due to advanced periodontal disease.
Among the many infections that can reside in gum tissue, one to keep in mind is Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that can cause gastric ulcers. This is a spirochete bacterium and can bore down into the soft tissue, wreaking havoc on the immune system. A blood test for antibodies to this bacterium may be helpful in evaluating gum disease. Gum tissue is highly dependent on coenzyme Q-10 for ongoing health. Any drug, such as a statin drug for cholesterol which can lower body levels of coenzyme Q-10 should be noted and mitigated by taking extra as a nutritional supplement. If periodontal disease is already present, I recommend taking CO Q-10 orally or in a chewable form, but also rubbed topically on the gums.
Some brands that are particularly good are Citrus Q10 by Douglas Laboratories, or CO Q10 Chewmelt by DaVinci Labs. A liposomal liquid form is made by Empirical Labs. There are also several capsule and tablet forms by multiple companies, and as long as they are third-party certified, then that is fine. High-dose Vitamin C is also highly recommended in the treatment of dental infections. Chewable, powder, capsule, or liquid, they are all helpful and the dose can vary quite a bit. Starting with a minimum of 1000 mg twice daily is a good place to begin. (All of the abovementioned supplements can be found on wellevate.me/susantanner.) Additionally, supporting the immune system helps to prevent and fight any infection. The Micro Balance products Sinus Defense and CellTropin are some of the foundations of this process.
I realize dental cavitations and root canal infections are a big subject and a controversial one among doctors and dentists alike. The take-away, however, is that if you are a patient who is not getting better from mold-related illness, do NOT forget to think about your mouth, your gums, and your teeth. The smoking gun may be right there.
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