If you have silver amalgam dental fillings, you may have a time bomb ticking in your mouth. Amalgam is a mixture of silver, copper, indium, palladium and 43 to 50.5 percent metallic mercury. Mercury is a liquid at room temperature but becomes solid when combined with other metals. It is more toxic than lead, cadmium or arsenic and has the property of giving off mercury vapor. Even in a compacted dental filling, vapor can be inhaled and distributed into tissues of the body, especially the brain, kidneys, liver and nerves. The Australasian Society of Oral Medicine and Toxicology has affirmed, “Mercury is poisonous. There is no safe form of mercury in living tissue.”

It has been proven that mercury continuously leaves the amalgam. The amount
exuded depends upon the number of fillings in the mouth and the length of time the fillings have been there. Its release increases when chewing, when the intraoral temperature is raised by smoking and drinking hot fluids, by grinding of teeth and even by brushing the teeth. The mercury vapor is absorbed through the lungs directly into the arterial blood at a rate of 80 percent. In the brain it is preferentially stored in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. It binds to hemoglobin, causing decreased transportation of oxygen to the tissues and can destroy kidney cells, leading to kidney failure.

The greatest affect of elevated mercury in the system is neurotoxic, leading to memory loss along with a tingling and loss of sensations in the peripheral nerves. There may be hormonal changes, since it is selectively stored in the pituitary, the grand conductor of the nervous and hormonal system. Mercury also passes the placental barrier and can adversely affect the fetus with possible physical and mental defects. There are studies that implicate increased mercury levels with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. In one Alzheimer’s patient, all the amalgams were removed and mercury purged from the body by chelation. All symptoms of the disease disappeared.

What can we do about this controversial subject? Select a family dentist who does not use amalgams. Many dentists still deny it is a hazard to health. If your doctor feels there is sufficient cause, you may opt for a more extreme course of action: replacing the amalgams with porcelain or non-amalgam fillings. Your dentist must proceed cautiously, following a prescribed pattern of replacement. The mere manipulation of the fillings will tend to release more mercury vapor, which may be inhaled. While removing the amalgams, the effects of mercury in the system can be offset by a diet rich in greens, high fiber, garlic, onions, distilled water, and supplements of vitamin A, C, and E, beta carotene and selenium.

We discussed other aspects of dental hygiene in the August 1989 issue of Hinduism Today and warned of another toxic element, fluoride, found in fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. Fluoride produces marked and irreversible changes in the teeth and bones. On Nov. 14, 1996, a London Telegraph headline confirmed, “Colgate pays out for fluoride damaged teeth.” It was proven that a 10-year-old boy had the condition called dental fluorosis which developed due to small but frequent swallowings of fluoridated toothpaste.

Dr. Tandavan, 76, retired nuclear physician and hospital staff president, lives in Chicago, where he specializes in alternative healing arts. Visit his home page at the Hinduism Today Website.