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Is Dental Health At The Root Of Cancer?

Chances are your family doctor has never looked at your teeth. That’s an oversight. The condition of your teeth and gums reflects the health of the rest of your body and can offer insight into your vulnerability for cancer, heart disease and other devastating conditions. The cutting-edge field of holistic dentistry is designed to bridge this knowledge gap, because keeping your mouth and teeth healthy can keep the rest of you from getting sick.

They Don’t Ask, They Can’t Tell

Very few general medical practitioners ever ask about the health of their patients’ teeth. Hardly any oncologists ask whether their cancer patients have root canals or mercury amalgam fillings. As a result, most medical doctors steer clear of making recommendations about dental health. When you visit the doctor and are asked to stick out your tongue for a health exam, it is only to look at your throat.

In Western medicine, we have severed the perception of connections between dental health and overall physical well-being. As a result, we have lost a critical vantage point for evaluating the potential root causes of many life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart disease, immune disorders and more. The good news is this lifesaving integrative perspective is proving its value through the cutting edge field of holistic, or biological, dentistry.

Regular Dentistry vs. Holistic (Biological) Dentistry

Most conventional dentists are only dimly aware of connections between gum disease, chronic dental infection and overall health. Dentists rarely refer you back to your doctor for further testing or give more than the fairly superficial, though important, advice about brushing, flossing and diet. On the other hand, holistic dentistry takes an in-depth look at dental and overall health, guided by leading research in the field. In particular, holistic dentistry looks hard at the relationship between conventional root canals, periodontal disease, mercury amalgam fillings and other all-too-common dental issues and the progression of any number of chronic diseases throughout the body.

In traditional medical systems, such as Chinese and Tibetan medicine, the examination of the mouth and tongue represents a primary diagnostic tool for gathering information about imbalances in the rest of the body. Today, more and more skilled holistic practitioners and dentists are working together within the field of integrative medicine to collaborate on optimal treatment programs for patients. The holistic dentistry movement is gaining a widening appreciation of the holistic perspectives implicit in traditional healing systems and is being driven by the growing body of published research linking dental health issues and chronic illness. Repeatedly, patients with serious, life-threatening illnesses have experienced dramatic health improvements after skilled holistic dentists have coordinated their evaluations and treatments with integrative health practitioners.

Dental Health Linked To Cancer

Of special importance is the link between cancer and dental health. This is an area on the cutting edge of cancer investigation, and scientists have not yet agreed whether there is a direct cause. From a clinical standpoint, however, I, along with many of my colleagues, have seen time and again that there is a strong correlation between chronic infection associated with root canals and the presence of cancer.

Even more interesting, from an integrative medical perspective, each tooth has associated acu-meridian tooth-organ relationships. (In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is home to lines of force — acu-meridians also known as acupuncture meridians — that connect various organs.) Different acupuncture meridians run through the teeth, and specific organs and tissues are associated with each tooth. A chart developed by Dr. Ralph Wilson which you can see here outlines the relationship between each tooth and its associated organs, glands and body areas.

Infected Root Canals Often Don’t Show Symptoms

The most concerning finding in holistic dentistry is that extensive infection can be present in a root canal as well as the bone of the jaw which holds the tooth, in the absence of any direct symptoms. All too often, we rely on our subjective experience of symptoms (like pain) to warn us of problems. In this case, these warnings come usually after significant damage is done, so it is crucial to get proper dental evaluation and testing with regard to root canals and periodontal disease.

At Amitabha Medical Clinic, we refer our patients with root canals for what is called a cone beam scan, which is essentially a CT (or computed tomography) scan of the mouth. A cone beam scan produces 3D digitalized imagery on the computer screen, revealing details which a classic full mouth X-ray does not detect. These scans can tell practitioners whether there is chronic infection in the root of a tooth which needs to be addressed using careful and thorough methods. I encourage my cancer patients to limit the number of CT scans they have because of issues with cumulative radiation; but if you have root canals, the cone beam scan may be the only way to evaluate them. I think it’s worth doing, and the radiation exposure is much lower than a traditional CT. The truth is, the dental profession is largely ignoring the long-term effects of the root canal procedure. For this reason, I encourage you to seek out holistic dentists who have the knowledge and the tools to help you deal with root canals and other common dental issues in a careful and competent way.

Patient Stories

The importance of addressing these types of health issues with an integrative approach are evident in these examples:

  • A patient with Stage III colon cancer was found to have infection (with no symptoms) in the root canal associated with the colon. Upon further examination of old dental X-rays, it was found that the tooth had been cracked for many years prior to the root canal. Therefore, it most likely had been chronically infected for a long time prior to the root canal placement and before the colon cancer diagnosis.
  • A patient with metastatic breast cancer (with no symptoms) and with several old root canals who was not responding well to her chemotherapy treatments was found to have occult infection in the tooth associated with the breast on the same side as the cancer. The bone above the tooth was almost completely destroyed; the tooth was barely connected. The infected teeth were removed and the area was sterilized with ozone, a specialized form of oxygen therapy. After clearing up the infection, the patient had a better response to the same chemotherapy regimen.
  • A patient with endometrial (uterine) cancer who was not responding to treatment and whose surgical scar would not heal because of infection was found to have an extensive infection in the tooth associated with the uterus. She had no oral symptoms. When the tooth was removed, her surgical wound healed quickly, and she began to have a positive response to her chemotherapy regimen.

The Future of Integrative Cancer Therapy

As a health practitioner who specializes in integrative cancer care, I can cite numerous similar clinical examples highlighting the correlations I have seen between dental health and cancer, and the positive effects of clearing up chronic infections in the mouth. Even though we don’t yet understand all of the underlying mechanisms, we have enough evidence to recognize the seriousness and the importance of attention to this area of health. As more and more published research points to the connections between root canals, mercury amalgams, periodontal disease and chronic illnesses, I encourage all of my readers and patients to become familiar with this important area of integrative health. Stay tuned.

Filed Under: AgingAllergiesAlternative MedicineArthritisAsthmaCancerCancer ConcernsDetoxEastern MedicineEasy Health Digest™General Health

About the Author: Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.

Facebook Conversations

  • Hardo Bottin

    I have a patient who after being diagnosed with advanced peridontal disease had to have all his teeth taken out and is now subject to upper and lower dentures. Is the absence of the teeth a viable solution and would this result in an improvement of his overall health? Are implants a possible alternative to dentures in the future? What is the impact of implants and is it possible that these would again be subject to peridontal disease?
    Thank you
    Hardo Bottin

  • jeannine

    I live in Port st Lucie, Fl about 45 mi from West Palm Beach.
    I am looking for a holistic Dr and dentist. Can you please help me finding someone in my area. Thank you

  • Albert Bonte

    I was unable to download a Wellness Guide

    • Jennifer

      Hi Albert, We’re fixing the issue. In the meantime try clicking on the “get guide” option a couple of times. Which report were you looking to download and I’ll post it.

      • Kim

        None of them work. Clicking GET GUIDE multiple times doesn’t work either.

  • Jennifer

    Hello Kim and Albert,
    Our web team is currently working on the issue. Now try clicking GET GUIDE once and allow 10-15 seconds to load the health report. Let me know if that works for you.

    Thanks for your patience,


  • Betty

    You mention a chart by Dr. Ralph Wilson regarding the link between individual teeth and body organs is contained in the article above, but it is not. Where can that be obtained.

    • Debby

      We have an interactive chart to show the connection between teeth and your body on our Holistic web site –
      Hope this is helpful.
      Debby Wright

  • Betty

    Please disregard the last post regarding the chart. I located the highlighted link.

    • Tawny

      Betty, please tell me where the link between individual teeth & the organs is. Thanks.

  • Tawny

    Betty, I’m glad you found it. Please tell me where it is. Thanks.

  • lonnie marcum

    I am curious.

  • lonnie marcum

    Dec 18, 2009 … As we learn more about the inflammation link to many chronic and auto-immune diseases, we can no longer be ignorant to the harmful bacteria …

  • William Z.Foster

    reason that cancer frequently moves to the bone marrow? Can we blame. Chemo for this most painful form of death? They say that if the cancer doesn’t kill you, …

  • Deborah Shemesh

    I’ve heard about this in the past. I heard that the gums are a reflection of your stomach, yet the individual teeth are literally talking to us. If only we took the time. As a stage four cancer survivor, before and after all treatments I visit the dentist. Thank you for this valuable and insightful information. We as a society want more information and data, come on science catch up…..your teeth are your most valuable asset and can help doctors possible diagnosis disease. A model, mentor, and more. Come on patients, insist on change, come on dentists and doctors.

  • Willem Maas

    The dental chart is a mistake, when it comes to numbers. Any dentist can tell you, that our dental system is counted in 4 Quadrants, beginning with “1.1″ (front tooth) and ending with “1.8″ (wisdom tooth), from the point of view of the dentist, which means that the first quadrant is on the upper left side of your mouth. When we want people to seriously look at the links between teeth and organs, we should take into account that the trigeminic nerve is intertwined with the main brain nerves, including nervus vagus. The “messageing”
    interferes with dental health , vice versa.

  • Diana

    Hi ! Do you know of ant holistic dentists in England, please ? Thanks

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