Issue #45, November 2014

In This Issue:
Responsible Optimism – What to Do about Root Canal Teeth – Soda & Aging

JoAnne’s Motivational Minute

Responsible Optimism

By JoAnne Boettcher-Verigin

rain on the roofThe sound of rain on the roof was a common one when I was a kid growing up on the farm in northwestern Washington. It was the sound that meant “The Evergreen State” would live up to its reputation.

Dad always carefully checked the weather report before harvest to make sure it didn’t get a soaking (or too much of one anyway!). His well-cared for herd of cattle always had a warm, straw-laden shed to protect it from the elements.

He took his responsibility to care for his family’s livelihood seriously. As I remember, he always handled it well.

There’s a story they tell in Maine of an old man walking along the beach with his grandson. There were starfish all over the place, and each time they came to one, the boy would pick it up and throw it back into the water. He told his grandfather that if he left them there, the starfish would dry up and die.

“I’m saving their lives,” the boy said.

His grandfather told him that the beach goes on for miles and miles and miles. He questioned whether his grandson’s actions could possibly make any difference.

The boy picked up another starfish and threw it back to the sea. “It makes a difference to that one,” he said.

That little boy understood responsibility.

As I write this, a band of rain is pushing in from the coast – a welcome event as we remain in one of the worst droughts in California history. That drought has inspired many of us to a new level of responsibility – to each other and the state we call home. We’re doing our best to cut water usage. We let our cars go dirty. We replace water-gluttons with low-water plants. We do all we can to conserve.

When we do this, we can look ahead with optimism! Each of us can do something. Together, we can do a lot. That, too, is responsibility.

Real optimism is aware of problems but recognizes the solutions,
knows about difficulties, but believes they can be overcome,
sees the negatives but accentuates the positives,
is exposed to the worst but exceeds the best,
has reason to complain but chooses to smile.

– William Arthur Ward

Meanwhile, we enjoy the rain

PS – Remember to click all the links!

Dr. Verigin’s Comment

Root Canals Are a Chronic Focus, Part 4: What to Do About Root Canal Teeth

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

Over the past few issues, we’ve looked at the research on root canal treated teeth and how they can become burdens on whole body health.

Yet there’s another factor in play when it comes to dead or infected teeth: The toxins generated by the microbiota in them wreak havoc with mitochondria – the “power plants” within each cell of your body. These neurotoxins include thio-ethers, mercaptans, ornithines, hydrogen sulfide, butyric acid and cadaverine. They can be detected in every infected tooth, whether treated with root canal therapy or not.

Mitochondria are the main energy source in hepatocytes (liver cells) and play a major role in oxidative metabolism and normal liver function. This key role also assigns mitochondria a gateway function in the center of signaling pathways that mediate hepatocyte injury. Impaired mitochondrial functions affect cell survival and contribute to the onset and perpetuation of liver diseases.

Altered mitochondrial functions have been documented in a variety of chronic liver diseases including alcohol-induced liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis, primary and secondary cholestasis, hemochromatosis, and Wilson’s disease. Major changes include impairment of the electron transport chain and/or oxidative phosphorylation, leading to decreased oxidative metabolism of various substrates, decreased ATP synthesis, and reduced hepatocyte tolerance towards stressing insults.

The Mitochondrial Impact

human mitocondriaNow that we have a better idea of the toxins such teeth can harbor and generate, let’s take a look at their impact on the mitochondria, and how this contributes to conditions such as chronic fatigue and cancer. Finally, we’ll return to the basic issue we started with: what to do about root canal treated teeth.

Functional impairment of mitochondria is often accompanied by structural changes, resulting in organelle swelling and formation of inclusion in the mitochondrial matrix. Adequate mitochondrial functions in hepatocytes are maintained by mitochondrial proliferation and/or increased activity of critical enzymes.

The assessment of mitochondrial functions in vivo can be a useful tool in liver diseases for diagnostic and prognostic purposes, and also for the evaluation of (novel) therapeutic interventions.

The neurotoxins generated within infected teeth have diverse effects on the mitochondria. They also attach themselves to many metals and minerals in the body, such as magnesium – a mineral required for thousands of enzyme reactions within the body. In this way, the toxins come to inhibit the Krebs Cycle – the major cell-to-cell energy transfer that our bodies use to work.

Interruption of this cycle is the primary reason behind chronic fatigue and other degenerative diseases.

Cancer results from a succession of genetic changes involving oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes which have a critical role in normal cell growth regulation. The neurotoxins from root canal teeth and ischemic jawbone or cavitational lesions have been implicated in the overexpression or mutation of three oncogenes in particular: 1) the tumor suppressor gene p53; 2) P-21, involved in the growth of a tumor; and 3) CDK2, which is involved in the metastasis of cancer.

This is the genetic connection with cancer. These neurotoxins shut down the very genes that protect you from making tumors.

It usually takes at least three to seven years – sometimes longer – for pathogens to get to a level where this begins. If only one gene is suppressed, a person may not get cancer. Only total, thorough dental treatment will really succeed in giving the body’s defense a chance. The growth of the tumor itself is very often distinctly slowed down by focus treatment. Now and then, tumor development stops altogether and sometimes even regresses.

Dr. Loesche’s has great insight into foci in the teeth and the biofilm inhabiting the oral cavity and jaws. Therefore it seems biofilms to contribute to the development of secondary lesions and possibly to the origin of various cancer diseases, but also exert a direct influence on tumor growth by stimulating it. Many tumors seem to respond to immunological therapy only when foci have been removed. The subsequent improvement in the body’s defenses clearly shows itself in the response to immunizing vaccines.

Should You Remove Root Canal Teeth? It Depends…

Estimates of the number of bacterial species in the oral cavity vary between 500 to 650 different species. They live on the teeth and tongue, of course, but biofilms also cover the cheeks and oral mucosa. In fact, relatively little cover the teeth themselves, which comprise only about 1/20 of all the oral surfaces in your mouth. Researchers – very patient ones! – once harvested all the plaque from every surface of every tooth in a single mouth. The total weight of this harvest: 10 milligrams.

Now multiply that by 20.

And then realize that each single milligram of oral biomass typically contains about 100 million microbes. There are literally billions of microbes in your mouth at this very moment.

And that’s not counting those you swallow. Each milliliter of your saliva likewise contains about 100 million microbes, and if you’re average, you swallow about a liter of saliva every day. There are another 100 billion or so microbes you ingest every 24 hours.

Almost every single one of those – and this is Dr. Loesche’s great insight – began their lives in an oral biofilm.

Thus, despite only having 20 billion microbes in our mouths at any given time, we swallow five times more than that every day! So those 20 billion microbes in our mouths must be producing and shedding 100 billion additional microbes every day.

To put it another way, they are doubling their numbers five times every 24 hours.

Those calculations are based on averages. The actual numbers may be even higher. We can’t identify all the bacterial species, for example, so we’re probably undercounting. The average reproductive rate may be faster too. Some newly-made bacteria must die before they can be shed as daughter cells into the saliva.

Whatever the actual number might be, it’s huge with a rapid growth rate – fast enough to impress even the most casual brusher. This degree of proliferation applies to microbiota within the dead or infected tooth – or cavitational lesion – as well.

In Cancer: A Second Opinion, Dr. Issels makes a very sobering statement:

My own unhappy experience shows that with cancer patients, foci treatment has generally been left to a very late stage. In the vast majority of the patients I have treated, it was quite clear that foci treatment should have been carried out years before and certainly long before the manifestation of the tumors. (Emphasis added)

Yet Issels was emphatic that oral surgery must not be performed on chronically ill individuals until certain parameters had been addressed and satisfied. The person must first be prepared to heal. And when the surgery is performed, it must be done very skillfully so that all diseased remnants of tooth, ligaments and bone have been thoroughly removed.

It was as apparent to Price aroot canal teeths it was to Martin Fischer, Frank Billings, Patrick Stortebecker and all the leading German dentists and physicians who I have studied under or read: There is no benefit to removing root canal teeth if it is done when the terrain is in a dysfunctional mode. When it is done, the final outcome is usually worse.

Nor should removal of foci be viewed as a cure-all for every cancer state or other illness. If there are established lesions in the central nervous system, removal of foci will not cure them. In cases of trigeminal neuralgia, if there are already lesions in the Gasserian ganglion or brain stem, removing foci will not cure them. If there are perivenous plaques in disseminated sclerosis, removing foci will not cure them.

The purpose of surgical extractions of root canal filled teeth and their associated lesions – e.g., cysts and granulomas – and the surrounding infected bone, as well as the treatment of cavitations is straightforward: allow the individual’s immune and basic regulation systems to stop the progression of disease by preventing further dissemination of neurotoxins via the venous system to the spinal cord and brain.

Additional therapies are required to stimulate the body’s innate self-regulating abilities that make comprehensive healing possible.

“Mental health” is big business. As Lesley Russell reports in her executive summary of Mental Health Services in Primary Care, a report from the Center for American Progress:

Mental health disorders are common in the United States, affecting some 44 million adults and 13.7 million children each year. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States and 80 percent to 90 percent of people who die by suicide are suffering from a mental illness.

Mental health remains a hidden health issue. It rarely receives public attention, is underfunded in both the public and private sectors, and was barely mentioned during the recent debate on health care reform.

The barriers to early diagnosis, treatment, and care are many: a shortage of mental health services and providers; a failure to link physical and mental health care and lack of parity in the way these services are provided; lack of public awareness of effective treatments; lack of health insurance coverage and financial costs; and stigma. The unmet need for treatment is greatest in traditionally underserved groups, including elderly persons, racial and ethnic minorities, those with low incomes, those without insurance, and residents of rural areas.

I believe that including a through dental examination by a dentist highly skilled in locating infectious dental foci would – along with a thorough medical examination – take us a long way toward eradicating the onset of the many neurological and mental health issues that are so rampant in our society.

From Our Blog

Want to Age Faster? Drink Lots of Soda Pop!

Sodas and other sugary drinks can damage your teeth. A lot. (Research from the University of Adelaide recently showed that the destruction starts within the first 30 seconds of exposure!) Regular consumption has also been shown raise your risk of stroke and heart disease.

telomeres diagramNow comes a new study suggesting that those cardiovascular issues may stem from the impact of sugary drinks on celluar aging.

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study analyzed dietary factors and telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the end of our chromosomes that help protect them. They become shorter, though, as cells divide. When they get too short, the cell dies (as all cells do, eventually). Scientists have thus found telomere length to be a good sign of of aging. (Or as the title of one paper straightforwardly put it, “Short telomeres are sufficient to cause the degenerative defects associated with aging.”)

The current study found an association between regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and shorter telomeres. No such association was found for diet sodas, though – or, somewhat oddly, non-carbonated sugar-sweetened drinks. The authors’ conclusion was straight-forward:

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.

Yet one more reason to steer clear of sugary sodas – or at least make them only a sometimes-thing.

Read more articles like this at Know Thy Health

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Image Credits, all via Wikimedia Commons unless otherwise noted


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