With this article we intend to lay a foundation of the science and research that we have found on the subject of root canal therapy with hope that having access to this research will equip you to make a more informed decision if you are ever faced with the situation of having to consider having a root canal.
We hope this information also assists you along your path to greater oral health and whole being wellness if you already have a root canal as we discuss some of the options you have before you.
We prefer to keep the focus of our work toward bringing you empowering solutions to create positive change in your oral health, so the subject of root canals is tough for us as it’s definitely a consideration of the lesser of two evils…
This is the first of a series of articles on subjects that you, our readers, have asked us to research and share our perspective with you. You’ll find links at the bottom of this article to the others in the series.
We feel compelled to start this article with a strong reminder that stress undermines our ability to have optimal health. Stress literally runs down our immune response. So, if you have a root canal, please read this article lightly.
On one hand, we feel the need to share with you what the research suggests. However, please be gentle on yourself and keep your stress levels down. As we are all about bringing positive solutions to light for you, the last thing we want to do is have our work contribute to more stress in your life! 🙂
Root canals are one of those subjects that seemingly naturally attract so much attention and create so much controversy. We hope to present the information we have found here on both sides of the issue. That said, we want to disclose up front that we are biased toward the ‘anti-root canal’ camp. However, as you will see, this is not a black and white issue. Also, this is going to be a long article so take your time wading through it. 🙂
Let’s start by getting a cast of characters from history involved in the discussion.
Weston A. Price… Who else?
No discussion about root canals would be complete without looking at the research Weston A. Price conducted over 35 years in his exhaustive research. Dr. Price experimented on over 60,000 rabbits by embedding tips of teeth extracted from humans under the belly skin of the rabbit. He did this to test time and time again how the bacteria from teeth impact the health of the whole body.
In one experiment, in particular, Dr. Price took a tooth from a person who recently died from a heart attack and embedded the tip of that tooth root under the skin of a rabbit.
Within two weeks, that rabbit died of a heart attack. Dr. Price then removed the tip from the now dead rabbit and embedded it under the skin of a second rabbit. The second rabbit died of a heart attack within two weeks. Dr. Price continued this procedure using the same tooth root with 100 rabbits. All 100 rabbits died of a heart attack within two weeks.
Dr. Price found that the only way to stop this progression of the root canal tooth from passing on the disease was to boil the tooth in water for 30 minutes.
How is this possible?
Fact: Teeth are living tissue. And when teeth are alive, they have a flow of fluid through them.
The fact that we need to come to firm grips with here is that although they seem solid, teeth are actually extremely porous. They are filled with tiny tubes, called tubules. These tubules are tiny yet wide enough to house 5 bacteria standing side by side. Think bacterial super highway. It is suggested that the average front tooth has approximately 3 miles of tubules through it (if stacked end to end).
When the teeth are alive, they have blood flowing through them and the blood flow creates flow through the dentinal tubules as well, thus cleansing the tooth. The issue is the fact that a root canal tooth is dead, politically called non-vital. The root canal procedure stops the flow of blood into the tooth which kills the tooth. This makes all the difference as the tooth now has no way to maintain healthy microbial balance within the tubules.
(As a side note, if you’d like to learn how to maintain a healthy fluid flow through your teeth to help make your teeth resistant to decay, our free video tutorial series, the 5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth, will help put lots of the pieces of the puzzle in place.)
To add insult to injury, the bacterial colonies change when exposed to different environments. When the tooth dies, the environment changes to a low oxygen environment (no fluid flow to maintain healthy environment) which tends to encourage thug bugs capable of producing powerful toxins.
Fast forward 70 years…
Let’s take a look at the research conducted by Dr. Boyd Haley, now retired professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky. To put him into perspective, Dr. Haley was one of the first researchers to propose that Thimerosal in vaccines (due to the mercury content) was the most likely toxic agent involved in Gulf War syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. Haley chose to do his own studies similar to Weston Price’s research on root canal teeth using today’s technology. Dr. Haley studied approximately 900 teeth with root canals for their level of toxicity within. He grouped the teeth into three different groups.
Roughly 25% of the root canal teeth studied had bacteria within them which produced toxins that were fairly benign. 50% of the teeth studied contained bacteria within their structure that would challenge a healthy immune system. The last 25% of the teeth contained bacteria which produce toxins more powerful than botulinum (Important note, botulinum is widely recognized as the most toxic substance known to humans). This bears repeating: 25% of the teeth Dr. Haley studied contained a toxin stronger than the strongest toxin known to humans…
Starting to see the potential problem?
Side note, although I have not been able to ask him directly, it was told to me that Dr. Haley and his wife both had all root canals they had in their mouths removed upon the completion of his studies of root canal teeth.
So, if we take Dr. Haley’s research and ponder the implications, it shows us that if a person has one root canal, they have a 25% chance that it’s no big deal, 50% chance that it will cause some trouble and be a source of irritation and aggravation for their immune system, and a 25% chance that it could cause big trouble.
What the research is finding is that certain bacterial strains have an affinity for certain tissues in the body. So, while one bacteria really likes to cause trouble in heart cells, another might prefer liver cells and choose to take up residence there to cause trouble.
The bacterial toxins associated with dead teeth is just one of the issues around root canals. Another issue is the various materials used to fill the pulp chamber of the tooth once the root canal has been performed. Yet another issue is the relationship between the root canal tooth and the bio-energetic flow to the internal organs associated with that tooth. (Click here to view an interactive chart to see what teeth relate to which internal organs and body parts.) We’ll table these issues for other articles.
With all this, you might wonder why this issue isn’t black and white for us and how we could ever ponder why someone would choose to keep a root canal tooth in place.
As many of you know, we are not experts but consider ourselves very broad generalists.
We have to take all this information in and decide what we are going to do about it. You see, if a person chooses to have a root canal tooth removed, especially if they have more than one root canal, this can compromise the person’s ability to chew food and therefore nourish their body. This ability to nourish our bodies is so fundamentally crucial that it really must be thoroughly considered and a sober decision be made regarding the best route for one’s life.
After all, if a person only has one root canal and is living a healthy life, it’s possible that their immune system is able to effectively stay on top of any disruption the dead tooth could be causing.
So, it’s not a black or white issue for us. Each of us must soberly look at the information available on the subject and decide that path for us. We hope this article helps to increase your knowledge of the subject of the whole body implications that root canals play.
In our next article in this series, we’ll explore the options someone has if they currently have one or more root canals and have decided to have the root canal tooth removed. We will look at the various choices a person has regarding how to fill the gap and the relatively long-term implications of each.
Please post below in the comments your thoughts or experiences with root canals in your own life.
Also, feel free to download our FREE Guide to Safe Dentistry, which explains what questions to ask to find a dental team who will work with you on your journey to greater oral health.
Related articles on root canals:
“I have a root canal, what are my options?”
Options if you have a missing tooth
“My dentist says I need a root canal. What are my options?”
3 questions to ask your dentist about a proposed root canal
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