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Stealth Bugs: The Dangers of Hidden Infections
At my 6 month dental checkup in late June, Tom suggested that we might want to take a looksee under a 30 year old crown. During his meticulous exam he had discovered a tiny, barely visable dark spot appearing on the margin of the gold crown on tooth # 19 - way back on the bottom left. "Why not?", I demurred, thinking that it would be a simple thing since I had no pain or sensitivity whatsoever.After Tom wrestled the old crown off, imagine my surprise when he found the entire area under the crown filled with obviously longstanding decay . He snapped a picture with a dental camera and projected it onto a TV screen for me to see; the teeny tiny dot of previously visable decay around the margin of the crown was probably 1/25 of the total area of decay under the old crown - that old tip of the iceberg image. The photo was frightening and impressive and I begged him to let me spend $800 for a new crown if only he would make all the black awful decay stuff go away.
Why am I telling you probably more than you want to know about my tooth? I just want you to be aware that things may not be as hunky-dory underneath that ancient crown as you may think. I would seriously suggest that you get the margins around all of your old crowns carefully checked by your dentist. It was just luck that my healthy body was able to contain the decay and infection.
Step two would probably have been an abcess which would have had me crazy with pain begging for much stronger stuff than clove oil and necessitating either an extraction or a root canal. My opinion on root canals: Try to avoid them and if you must have one, ask for the root filler material to be Biocalex instead of gutta percha. Biological dentists know about this, but your ordinary dentist may not.
Early tooth infections are notoriously difficult to find and may not even show up on an x-ray. Infections can hide in cavitations (places of previous tooth extractions), and root canals and sometimes can burrow into the crevices beween tooth and gum, travelling as far down as the jaw bone. Sometimes we don't even feel a hidden but raging infection, but our health suffers in subtle ways or we may struggle with some chronic disease du jour like CFIDS.
Sometimes we might have a hint of an occult infection somewhere in our mouth when we get news of a curiously elevated CRP, a marker for inflammation. Or we might even be lucky enough to have a tender tooth, one that sort of bothers us just sometimes when we bite down on a piece of sourdough bread, but not outright painful enough to call the dentist. My advice to you is to heed the tenderness. Don't ignore your body's nudges. Our bodies are always communicating with us. Learn to listen.
Much disease is caused by hidden infections starting in the mouth and many epidemiologic studies suggest associations between bacterial or viral infections and coronary artery disease. Let me give you a couple of examples: Coronary Vascular Disease and Autism.
Atherosclerotic CVD is already the leading cause of death in the USA, yet many CVD patients - some reseachers are suggesting over 80% - have none of the common risk factors like elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar or insulin. This means something else is causing it. For example, in patients with infective myocarditis, molecular biology techniques have shown that the pathogens isolated from blood and the oral cavity were essentially identical.
These periodontal pathogens include P. gingivitis, Strep oralis, Bacteroides oralis and Strep sanguis. Those that are non-periodontal and can cause CVD include H.pylori, C.pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus (CMV), coxsackievirus ( a big cause of myocarditis) and human heat shock protein (HSP-60). These dangerous pathogens might just be running around in our unsuspecting bodies stealthily wreaking havoc on our immune systems and taking up housekeeping in the chambers of our hearts.
Autistic kids have been found to have two problems: The first problem is that they have more methyl mercury in their bodies which is probably due to a combination of too many toxic vaccinations bound with mercury compounds combined with some sort of inborn genetic inability to detoxify heavy metals as competently as other kids getting the same vaccinations who do not become autistic.
The second problem is that they have been found to have antibodies to such infectious agents as rubeola (measles), mumps, rubella, herpes and clostridium neurotoxin. Also, did you know that more and more children are being diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder? These infective agents and heavy metals are also being found in them.
Your Course of Action: Get a good dentist and keep up with your twice or thrice yearly teeth exams. And let me check you out for some of the more common pathogens.
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