At the beginning of the 20th century, the biggest risk factors for death due to heart disease were tooth and jaw infections. A single unhealthy tooth could lead to an early grave due to subacute bacterial endocarditis, cavernous sinus thrombosis and brain abscesses.
Now, 100 years later, what do you suppose is among the biggest predictors of death due to heart disease? Teeth - or more exactly, gum disease. This one risk factor is just as important as smoking, obesity, blood pressure or an unfortunate family history in determining whether we will die before we should (Ann Periodontol, 1998; 3: 127-41).
Why is what goes on in your mouth so dangerous? Teeth sockets are a royal highway for disease pathogens, leading straight to your bones and bloodstream. A tooth abscess is a kind of osteomyelitis, or bacterial bone infection. The bacteria quickly migrate to other parts of the body to cause septic foci.
The situation is not helped by techniques such as crowns. They may make teeth appear attractive on the outside but, often, those metal or plastic caps do nothing more than disguise a pocket of purulent infection that can explode when immunity is compromised.
The late Patrick Stortebecker, professor of neurology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, carried out a series of experiments in the 1960s which are both highly illuminating and rather scary. He injected tooth bone margins with radiopaque dyes, then X-rayed the skull. As most head veins don't have control valves, blood is able to travel both forwards and backwards; his radiopaque dye appeared all over the head, far from the initially injected tooth (Stortebecker P, Dental Caries as a Cause of Nervous Disorders, Orlando, FL: Bio-Probe Inc, 1986, p 34).
If a given tooth were infected, the results could be very adverse indeed. Bacterial toxic matter could be propelled up into the cranium and set up an infection inside the skull.
Stortebecker himself mentioned the risk of cavernous sinus thrombosis (clots) and suppuration (pus). If the cavernous sinus (a large venous reservoir at the base of the brain) should clot and fill with pus, widespread meningitis and brain abscesses are inevitable.
Stortebecker found another disease model that is very persuasive. He considered that what he found was the principal factor in the development of multiple sclerosis. Through extensive research, he was able to show that most plaques of nerve demyelination (when the protective myelin sheath surrounding nerves are stripped away, an unmistakable sign of MS) were located close to blood vessels (Stortebecker P, ibid, p 116).
No one had made this important observation before. Stortebecker speculated that the back-pressure on veins shunted toxic matter into the brain, causing a focus of inflammation and loss of myelin. What was particularly convincing was that the MS cases with optic neuritis (leading to blindness) also generally had bad teeth and inflammatory plaques in the brain whereas those with leg weakness or paralysis and demyelination plaques in the spinal cord had pelvic or other lower-body foci of disease.
Sadly, Stortebecker is gone now and, apart from a handful of us, his work is completely ignored. It has not been possible to interest anyone in the medical establishment to carry out more studies in this area. Dentists don't want to even think about it. Doctors say it's a dental problem and nothing to do with them - yet another sorry example of how specialisation has made medicine both foolish and ineffectual.
The problems of infection are not helped by modern dental methods. Recent research by Ralph Turk and Fritz Kronner in Germany has shown that even the act of drilling a tooth causes severe energy disturbance (Turk R, 'Iatrogenic Damage Due to High-Speed Drilling', presented at the scientific session at the dedication of the Princeton Bio Center, New Jersey, 13 June 1981).
Turk describes the modern dental turbine rotor as a sort of time bomb and claims that its damaging intensity has been completely missed by the vast majority of dentists. There are many likely reasons, not least of which is the fact that, despite water-cooling, the temperature in the tooth rises by as much as 10 degrees on just a few seconds of drilling. In biological terms, the tooth has been cooked. This denaturation clearly damages the tooth and its ability to resist bacterial invasion. From more than 6000 cases studied, it was uniformly seen that, as soon as a tooth was visited by a high-speed drill, focal bone infection began in connection with that tooth within two years.
Most dentistry is, by nature, toxic. Modern methods rely heavily on materials such as metals, plastics and polymers, ceramics and prosthetics of all sorts. Most of this foreign material is stressful to the body and a considerable drain on the immune system - and therefore a major contributing cause of fatigue and chronic ill health. Given what we now know about allergies, we can only urge people to try to prevent dental problems in the first place. A good diet and adequate dental hygiene may still be, even in this era of antibiotics, a lifesaver.
As for drilling, it is possible to reduce the damage by taking sensible antitoxic procedures before, during and after a dental programme. Such elementary measures would include vitamin C, charcoal (to absorb toxins), and homoeopathic support and immune drainage compounds that can provoke speedier removal of toxins. Any good homoeopath or herbalist will be familiar with drainage techniques and be able to offer you a treatment of choice.
Dr Mumby is the author of Virtual Medicine (Thorsons, 1999), which describes immune drainage remedies in more detail.