Swollen gums, halitosis, and cavities are serious concerns, but may be insignificant problems compared to greater dangers of tooth infection: hepatitis, cancer, heart disease, and more. Bacteria in the mouth can multiply in damaged teeth and migrate throughout the body, causing significant damage.
Bacteria Flourish in the Mouth and Teeth
Damaged teeth are ideal environments for bacterial growth. The dentin of each tooth contains microscopic tubules that enter its pulp and nerve, which are hospitable to “bad” anaerobic bacteria. Root canals are especially susceptible because immune cells cannot enter the dead tooth to destroy the bacteria.[2,3] Mold, fungus, bacteria, and viruses that infect the tooth can move into the bloodstream at a constant rate. The following are early signs that a root canal may be leaking bacteria into the blood:
- Soreness and bleeding
- Gum or cheek inflammation
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Teeth Are Connected to the Rest of the Body
Since ancient times, Chinese medicine has divided the body into 12 systems of nerves and blood vessels called meridians, and western research has confirmed that meridians are indeed a real part of human anatomy.[5,6,7,8,9] Part of the theory is that each tooth is serviced by nerves and blood vessels that continue on to different parts of the body. In this way, an infection that begins in a tooth can travel directly to other parts of the body.
Tooth Infection: Associated with Cancer, Hepatitis, and Heart Disease
Studies have found significant evidence to associate oral bacterial infection with cancer of the lung, kidney, and pancreas; with hepatitis; and with cardiovascular disease.
- Cancer: Because the bacterial source inside of root canals cannot be reached by the immune system, the body enters an endless struggle to control the gum inflammation that results. This causes a chronic release of dead bacteria and immune cells, toxins, and hormones into the bloodstream beneath the tooth. Over time, these substances are known to cause tumor growth in organs along their traveled meridian.[10,11]
- Hepatitis: About 26% of people with tooth infections have hepatitis. Although typically caused by a virus, chronic hepatitis and liver cancer can also result from bacterial infection. Studies indicate that hepatitis is more common in people with tooth infections and halitosis.[3,14]
- Heart disease: Studies indicate that the risk of cardiovascular disease increases with tooth loss. People with fewer than 10 teeth are about 78% more likely to develop the disease than people with more than 25 teeth. Furthermore, older adults with high levels of periodontal-disease-causing bacteria in their mouths tend to have thicker carotid arteries, a strong predictor of stroke and heart attack.
How to Prevent and Eliminate the Dangers of Tooth Infection
Preventing dental infection is the first step to reducing risk. The following are excellent methods:
- Oil pulling. In India, this technique is claimed to help over 30 systemic diseases including headaches, diabetes, and asthma. It is done by holding a tablespoon of sesame, sunflower, olive, or coconut oil inside the mouth for a period of 20 to 30 minutes. The oil extracts toxins and microbes that exist beneath the gums.
- Flossing. Brushing does not access the areas in between teeth where most microbes live and multiply. Flossing can reduce and prevent gum inflammation and inhibit bacterial growth by removing their food supply. Thread should be pressed down against the sides of teeth in order to reach their roots below the gum line.
Many naturopathic doctors also suggest the immediate extraction of all teeth that have undergone root canals. A tooth that has had a root canal is dead. Blood and immune cells no longer have access to the inside of the tooth, which allows bacteria to grow uncontrollably. The only certain way to remove the bacteria is to extract the entire tooth and replace it with a non-mercury implant.
If you suffer from a disease that seems to have an unknown origin and has not improved with traditional treatments, it may be wise to consider the state of your oral health. Finding a biological dentist is the best way to proceed with this because they focus on safe tooth extraction and do not use mercury implants. Use the physician finder to locate a biological dentist near you and ask about removing teeth that have had root canals.
If your health has improved after the removal of an infected tooth, let us know in the comments section below.
 Press Release. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Study Finds Direct Association Between Cardiovascular Disease and Periodontal Bacteria. Feb. 7, 2005.