In my earlier post, I wrote about the importance of finding a dentist that does not use amalgam fillings. So, what's wrong with amalgam fillings? Well, to begin with, look at the composition of amalgam.
Amalgam is composed of the following metals:
Amalgam is 50% mercury, and mercury is toxic to the body. The long-term effects of mercury in the mouth have been shown to be extremely dangerous. Even worse, the combination of multiple metals (silver, tin, copper, zinc) interacting with mercury can cause even greater harm. An excellent article on dental fillings: Are Amalgams Safe?
Scientific Facts About the Biological Effects of Mercury Amalgams:
Mercury Penetrates the Blood-Brain Barrier & Weakens Immune System
Mercury penetrates the blood-brain barrier around the brain, and as little as one part per million can impair this barrier, permitting entry of substances in the blood that would otherwise be excluded.
–Chang and Hartman, 1972; Chang and Burkholder, 1974
Mercury Affects Nervous System & Prevents Protein & Amino Acid Absorption
The effect of mercury on the nervous system selectively inhibits protein and amino acid absorption into brain tissue.
–Yoshino et al.,1966; Steinwall, 1969; Steinwall and Snyder, 1969; Cavanagh and Chen, 1971
Mercury Linked to Parkinson's Disease
Mercury inhibits the synaptic uptake of neurotransmitters in the brain and can produce subsequent development of Parkinson's disease.
–Ohlson and Hogstedt, "Parkinsons Disease and Occupational Exposure to Organic Solvents, Agricultural Chemicals and Mercury" Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment Health Vol 7 No.4 : 252-256,1981
Mercury is Toxic to the Kidneys & Causes Pathological Damage
Mercury is nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys) and causes pathological damage.
–Nicholson et al, "Cadmium and Mercury Nephrotoxicity" Nature Vol 304:633, 1983
Amalgam is the Largest Source of Mercury Absorption
Based on a number of studies in Sweden, the World Health Organization review of inorganic mercury in 1991 determined that mercury absorption is estimated to be approximately four times higher from amalgam fillings than from fish consumption. Recent studies have confirmed this estimate. The amount absorbed can vary considerably from person to person.
Mercury Affects the Functioning of the Heart
Mercury fillings can contribute to a higher level of mercury in the blood, and can affect the functioning of the heart, change the vascular response to norepinepherine and potassium chloride, and block the entry of calcium ions into the cytoplasm.
–Abraham et al, 1984 "The Effect of Dental Amalgam Restorations on Blood Mercury Levels" Journal of Dental Research Vol 63 No.1:71-73,1984; Kuntz et al, "Maternal and Cord Blood Background Mercury Levels: A Longitudinal Surveillance" American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Vol 143 No. 4: 440-443, 1982; Joselow et al, 1972; Mantyla and Wright, 1976; Trakhtenberg, 1968; Oka et al, 1979
Mercury Affects Endocrine System & Accumulates in Thyroid & Pituitary Glands
Mercury exposure from amalgams leads to interference with brain catecholamine reactivity levels, has a pronounced effect on the human endocrine system, and accumulates in both the thyroid and pituitary glands, reducing production of important hormones.
–Carmignani, Finelli and Boscolo, 1983; Kosta et al, 1975; Trakhtenberg, 1974
Mercury induces the thyroid gland to absorb an increasing amount of nuclear radiation from the environment.
Mercury Reduces Function of Adrenal Glands and Contributes to Infertility
Mercury can impair the adrenal and testicular steroid hormone secretions, cause intolerance for stress and decreased sexual ability. In rats, it causes subnormal fertility and sperm production.
–Burton and Meikle, 1980; Khera, 1973; Stoewsand et al, 1971; Lee and Dixon, 1975; Thaxton and Parkhurst, 1973
Mercury in the body can produce contact dermititis and reduced function of the adrenal glands (Addison's disease), producing progressive anemia, low blood pressure, diarrhea and digestive disturbances.
–Alomar et al, 1983
Mercury Kills White Blood Cells, Causes Chromosomal Abnormalities & Alters Cells
Mercury has a distinct effect on the human immune system, especially the white blood cells. Mercury ions have been observed to cause chromosomal aberrations and alters the cellular genetic code. Mercury has the ability to induce chromosomal breakage, alter cellular mitosis, cause a drop in T-cell production and kill white blood cells.
–Vershaeve et al, 1976; Popescu et al, 1979; Skerfving et al, 1970,1974; Fiskesjo, 1970
High Mercury Levels in Pregant Women Linked to Fetal Birth Defects & Still Births
Mercury has an effect on the fetal nervous system, even at levels far below that considered to be toxic in adults. Background levels of mercury in mothers correlate with incidence of fetal birth defects and still births.
–Reuhl and Chang, 1979;Clarkson et al, 1981; Marsh et al, 1980; Tejning, 1968; Kuntz, W.D., Pitkin, R.M., Bostrum, A.W., and Hughes M.S., The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Vol 143 No.4:440-443,1982
Mercury is Linked to Alzheimer's Disease
A study related to mercury and Alzheimer's Disease was recently completed by a team of scientists led by well-respected researcher Dr. Boyd Haley. They exposed rats to levels of mercury vapor diluted to account for size differences between humans and rats. The rats developed tissue damage "indistinguishable" from that of Alzheimer's Disease. Repeating the experiment showed the same results. Dr. Haley is quoted as saying "I'm getting the rest of my fillings taken out right now, and I've asked my wife to have hers replaced too."
Patients with Amalgam Fillings Breathe Mercury Vapors
Studies show there is a continuous release of elemental mercury vapor from amalgam fillings–especially when chewing food or brushing amalgam-filled teeth. Further, the polishing of amalgams (by dental hygenists) and bruxism (grinding of teeth) may cause the release of high levels of mercury vapor and mercury ions.
I find it very disturbing that it is standard practice to fill cavities with amalgams. Most patients are unaware, uninformed and totally ignorant about the consequences. Essentially, dentists are slowly poisoning their patients, without telling them.
Don't go to a regular dentist. If possible, find a holistic, mercury-free dentist. You can find a mercury-free dentist here. One final note: Try to find a dentist that uses digital X-rays, since digital X-rays reduce radiation by up to 80% (when compared to traditional X-rays).
More information about amalgam fillings, toxicity of amalgam, and frequently asked questions about amalgam.